Riverside Walk – 2.1mi / 3.3km
This family friendly, short out-and-back hike takes you along the Virgin River via an accessible paved trail. From the Temple of Sinawava bus stop, follow the Riverside Walk trail as it wanders beneath cottonwoods. Little side trails take you to the banks of the river at various points. Be careful to obey Park Service signs put in place to protect sensitive areas.
Along the trail, the towering red rock walls of the canyon give you a sense of its magnitude. Seeps in these walls provide water to hanging gardens and small pools. Flowers grow from impossible cracks and swampy areas are formed in stark contrast to the desert just outside of the canyon. Mule deer are frequently seen along the trail, in addition to birds like warblers and wrens, that love the shade of the canyon.
At the trailhead the valley is broad, widely separating the canyon walls, but gets narrower and narrower as you head up the Virgin River. The trail goes gently up and down with numerous spots to stop and rest. The trail ends where the canyon walls have narrowed down to only accommodate the size of the river bed. Here, the Narrows Hike begins if you decide to step into the water. (See its description in the 5-10 mile hikes.)
Trailhead: Take the National Park Service’s free shuttle to the Temple of Sinawava stop in the main Zion Canyon or drive the Zion Canyon Road if the shuttles aren’t running and the road is open to private vehicles.
Elevation Gain: 100ft / 30m – Elevation Loss: 100ft / 30m