The North Fork Virgin River carved out the Zion Narrows, a tall, narrow gorge. It is a bucket-list destination for outdoor enthusiasts all over the world because it is one of Zion National Park’s most popular hikes. If you’re looking for a hiking trail that will amaze, challenge, and increase your appreciation for the natural beauty of the Southwest, Zion Narrows is an excellent choice.
Because Zion Narrows is a unique destination, hikers face a variety of challenges. This guide will assist you in preparing for these challenges so that your Zion Narrows adventure is as pleasant and safe as possible. We have all the information you need for your hike, whether it’s about Zion Narrows hiking permits, preparing for the hike when to hike the Narrows or guided hiking excursions.
March heralds the end of winter and the beginning of spring in Zion National Park. The leaves and flowers are beginning to emerge. The days are getting longer and the temperatures are rising, but aside from a few March break visitors, the park is still relatively empty. If you want to visit Zion National Park when it isn’t too hot or too cold, March is a great time to see the park come alive.
Can You Hike the Narrows in March?
In comparison to the winter, the weather in Zion National Park begins to warm up in March. The average daily high temperature begins the month at 58 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees Celsius) and rises to 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Celsius) by the end of the month. The overnight lows will be slightly above freezing, at 38 degrees Fahrenheit (3 Celcius). It is still possible to get a cold spell in March with snow at higher elevations, but it will usually melt away during the day. This is especially true at the canyon’s bottom, where it is warmer than at higher elevations. Keep in mind that temperatures at the canyon’s bottom can be much warmer than at the top, which is about 1500 feet higher (Angels Landing) and more exposed to wind. If you intend to hike to higher elevations, bring extra layers and be prepared for potentially icy trail conditions.
With an average total of 2″, March is the wettest month of the year in Zion National Park (50mm). On average, there are 8 days with precipitation, which can be a mix of rain and snow. This amount of precipitation raises the risk of flash floods, so always check the weather forecast before venturing into any canyons or narrows where rainwater may accumulate.
Depending on how much snow Zion received in the winter, higher elevation trails and areas may still be inaccessible in March without winter gear. Otherwise, expect a wet, slushy, and muddy trail. Check in at the visitor center before heading out, especially in March, to get the latest trail conditions. They inform you about icy trail sections and possible closed sections.
Trails without snow or ice in March in the main canyon:
- The Narrows (dry suit needed)
- Emerald Pools
- Riverside Walk
March is an excellent time to visit Zion National Park because the weather is warming up but it is still before the busy season begins. The number of visitors increases gradually throughout the month as April approaches. The traffic is lightest during the first two weeks of the month. Spring break will bring an increase in visitors around mid-March. Even so, many people come on weekends. However, keep in mind that after 10 a.m., parking can become more difficult. If your schedule allows, go during the week and try to arrive at 8 a.m., when the shuttle service begins.
What to wear in March?
The weather in March can be more erratic than it will be in the spring and summer, so bring clothing that will cover you from near freezing to summer-like temperatures. Mornings are generally cool but can warm up in the afternoon, so dress in layers. As the temperature rises, you can remove layers while remaining comfortable. Wear merino wool or synthetic clothing to wick away sweat if you are going to be doing anything active. Because March has the highest chance of rain storms compared to any other month, bring a raincoat because the rain tends to come down hard and heavily.
Tips for maximum comfort.
- Start activities slightly cool to avoid overheating and sweating once you begin working.
- Wear a wicking base layer next to your skin.
- As needed for the temperature and activity level, add insulation layers such as fleece or puffy mid-layers.
- Finish with a wind and water-resistant outer shell.
- Layer up or down as needed to stay warm and dry.
- A t-shirt is appropriate for day hikes in the sun at low elevations. Bring layers, though.
- Bring a beanie hat and gloves for high-altitude hikes to keep your extremities warm.
- Wear a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses, long sleeves, and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.
- Wearing waterproof hiking boots
It rains on average 8 days in March, so it makes sense to protect your feet from the elements, especially since the rain is often heavy. Wear waterproof hiking boots or shoes to deal with cooler temperatures and wetter conditions. On the rugged trails of Zion, good traction combined with extra ankle support is ideal. Wearing merino wool hiking socks to protect your feet and wick sweat away from the skin will add to your foot comfort.
Bring microspikes or traction devices to put on the bottom of your boots when hiking in Zion National Park in March. These are small metal spikes attached to the bottom of your shoes that provide traction on ice. Many trails, especially those at higher elevations or in the shade, can accumulate ice. Angel’s Landing is known to have ice on certain sections, so microspikes are essential if you want to complete the hike safely.
What to do in Zion in March?
Driving through the Zion area is breathtaking. Because the shuttle service is only available on weekends until March 13, you can drive into the park during the first two weeks of March. When you combine this with the drive up to Mount Carmel, you’ll have a few hours of sightseeing, especially if you stop and look around at the various viewing points.
March hiking is pleasant because the weather is still cool and there are fewer people on the trails. Dress in layers, bring extra warm clothing and bring micro-spikes in case the hiking trails are icy. Check the Lodge notices for flash flood warnings before heading out, as some of the hikes may be closed if it rains.
March is an excellent month for rock climbing because the weather is mild. The only disadvantage is the possibility of rain. You can climb in Zion as long as it is dry, but give it a couple of days to dry after a rain because the rain can weaken the sandstone. Longer days are welcome for longer routes like Moonlight Buttress, but it is still a good idea to start early and bring a headlamp for the hike off.
If you enjoy canyoneering, you can do so in March, but you will need to have your equipment dialed in to deal with the cold water. Routes like the Subway necessitate the use of a dry suit to handle the cold water swims that are part of the journey. Canyoneering in Zion requires a wilderness permit at all times of the year. Check the weather forecast at the Lodge before venturing into any canyons, as rain from many miles away can cause flash floods in the canyons.
In comparison to the heat of the summer, the warm days and cool nights make backpacking in March almost refreshing. You only need to bring clothing and a sleeping bag for the colder nights. Because March still has relatively short days, make sure you have extra batteries for your headlamp. Bring microspikes for any icy trail sections. A wilderness permit is required for overnight backpacking. Because traffic is lighter in March, obtaining a permit should be easier.
The Narrows in March
The Narrows is a hiking trail in the Virgin River near the canyon’s north end. The canyon is so narrow at this point that you must walk in the river because there is no bank. The Narrows can be hiked in March, but the park service restricts access if the river flow is too high or there is a risk of flash flooding. Because March is the month when a lot of snow melts, the river level rises. As a result, the Narrows could be closed for an extended period of time. It would be too cold to hike the Narrows without proper clothing. If you want to hike the Narrows in March, bring a dry suit and river boots for traction. These are available for rent from local outfitters.
Visiting Zion National Park is enjoyable at any time of year, but March has fewer visitors and cooler temperatures. While the north is still in the grip of winter, Zion National Park is bursting forth with new buds and wildflowers.