ZION NATIONAL PARK – Sign-ups are still open for a Sept. 4 service project hike in Zion Narrows. Participants will pick up trash as they hike the trail.
“All heavily used trails in [Zion National Park] have problems with litter,” said Michael Plyler, director of the Zion Canyon Field Institute. The Zion Narrows service project hikes are done four times a year.
Zion Narrows, while strikingly beautiful, is not an easy trail.
“The first mile is a paved sidewalk, and after that you’re walking through the river,” said Plyler.
While participants can walk on a sandbar for parts of the trail, it’s still very wet. “Once you get your feet wet, they will be wet all day.” Plyler said.
Hiking through the river is part of what makes Zion Narrows a difficult trek.
“The river is lined with rocks and cobbles that are covered with algae and moss. It’s been described as hiking on greased bowling balls,” said Plyler.
While hiking boots or river shoes and a walking stick are recommended, Zion Narrows isn’t a life-threatening trail.
“Many people [hike Zion Narrows] every day with very little consideration of gear preparation and seem to live to tell about it, so it’s not like you’re taking your life into your hands or anything,” Plyler said.
The service project hike is a little longer than a normal hike. Picking up trash “might add maybe 15 minutes to half to half an hour to the hike,” Plyler said.
The hike will start at 9 am, and participants will get back to the bus by 3 pm.
The service project hike is a fee-based class offered through the Zion Canyon Field Institute. The hike is on Sept. 4 and is limited to 11 participants and an instructor.
Participants should wear hiking boots that they are willing to get wet, or they can rent river shoes and a walking stick for $16 per day at Zion Rock and Mountain Guides or Zion Adventure Company in Springdale.