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southwest advice needed - Havasu and Zion Narrows
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · southwest advice needed - Havasu and Zion Narrows

I was looking at doing a trip to the southwest in early April when the kids are on spring break.

I've been to the southwest a lot since 2001, but haven't done the Zion Narrows hike, of Havasu falls and wanted to get advice on both. First, is early April a good time for those locations

I've wanted to go to Havasu on a lot of previous trips, but it always ended up getting dropped and really want to go this time around. I've seen a lot of photos of Havasu in November with the fall colours. but don't know what is like at other times of the year. Is it still fairly difficult to get to logistically (i.e. having to wait for the helicopter potentially all day) What are the accommodations like if you want to stay at the hotel/motel that is there How early do you have to make reservations

With Zion, do you need to make reservations in advance for the Zion narrows hike How long is the hike and is it worth doing with an 8 and 10 year old?

All advice will be appreciated!!

Oct 08, 2017 at 02:39 PM

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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · southwest advice needed - Havasu and Zion Narrows

I've hiked up to Wall Street twice, both times in early November when the water is relatively low. "How long is the hike" depends entirely on you. You can just start walking and turn around when it feels like you are out of time. You do need to start in the morning because by mid to late afternoon the canyon gets cold and you will have been out for hours. My memory is that we hit the water between nine and ten and were back at the car by two. I'm guessing in April the water level could be much higher than in November and that could be a problem for your children. If they are fussy in the outdoors it could be a miserable trip with them. You will want to stop frequently to take shots and that could also be a problem with them. Have you hiked and photographed with them? If you have and that was Ok, then just imagine it being much more difficult and wet and possibly cold, and ask yourself if that would be ok. If you have never hiked and photographed with them, the Narrows is not the time or place to start. You will need to rent the proper water gear for yourself and them (easy in town). Of all my "ifs" the only life threatening one is the water level and speed and how tall and fit your kids are. If you decide to give it a go my advice is just be prepared to turn back if your kids are miserable or it feels unsafe. So, in summary I think whether or not you could do it depends on both the conditions at the time (if the water is high and fast, no!) and the temperament and fitness of your kids. If the water is at all challenging you will have your hands full making sure your kids are safe and won't be able to do much photography. Finally, there are no reservations for hiking the Narrows. The rangers will close it if there is rain forecast up drainage anywhere.

Oct 08, 2017 at 03:55 PM
Craig Gillette
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · southwest advice needed - Havasu and Zion Narrows

I don't have any experience with Havasu Falls but several years ago, we also did an early April trip and had several days with a lot of snow - as in roads closed all day, etc., between Williams and Winslow, etc. That's higher than the Havasu Falls area but suggests possibly significant rain as well in some areas. Another Spring Break trip the weather was coldish (for an L.A. area kid) but otherwise quite good for the most part, again, some rain but not too much. Zion was fine. I'd expect possibly crowded conditions in Zion, it's getting more and more popular so planning ahead on reservations there is a good idea, too, especially during Spring Break time frame. The Narrows are closed if either rain is expected or the waterflow is too high to be safe. It's a 1 mile walk from the end of the shuttle route before you have to enter the water to continue.

Oct 09, 2017 at 06:49 AM

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Greg Campbell
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · southwest advice needed - Havasu and Zion Narrows

April air temperature in Zion can, if it chooses, be damned cold. Or it can be 70+ and sunny - perfect hiking weather. OTOH, the water you'll find in the Narrows is pretty much guaranteed to be COLD. (It's all snow melt from the mountains N of Zion.) And there may be a lot of it. Try it if you're feeling brave, but leave the kids in a nice warm, safe place.

Havasu is much lower and warmer and is the clear favorite for this time of year. Before giving the tribe a ton of money, look into the ongoing abuse of their pack animals.

Oct 09, 2017 at 05:38 PM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · southwest advice needed - Havasu and Zion Narrows

The bottom-up Narrows hike does not require any permits/reservations.

However, April and May tend to be the most unpredictable months for a Narrows hike because as the temperature warms, snow melt causes heavy flows in the Virgin River. NPS closes the trail when flow exceeds 150 cubic feet per sec, which is common in April. The amount of flow in these spring months will depend on how much snow has accumulated over the winter -- 2014 and 2015 were particularly dry winters, meaning that you could hike the Narrows pretty much year round. So you'll have to watch for what happens this winter to see if an April 2018 hike is feasible.

A narrows hike in June thru August would be best for a child although that's also when the trail is the most crowded, so that's the tradeoff.

That being said if you do end up in Zion in early April and the Narrows is closed, there are still plenty of amazing hikes to experience. Riverside Walk, Canyon Overlook, Watchman and certain trials in the Kolob Canyons area are great for kids.

Oct 10, 2017 at 04:43 PM
Dustin Gent
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · southwest advice needed - Havasu and Zion Narrows

Havasupai permits are HARD to come by - in that i mean you need to be able to spend time just calling them non stop for perhaps days on end. They answer the phone when they feel like it, and i have talked to many people that were heading to Havasupai the past spring and summer, and some said they literally called 1,000 times over the course of several days. Some said it took them 50 calls and then they answered. Some also booked with groups on sites like meetup.com or the like. Here is info on some logistics HAVASUPAI

Zion is one of the most popular parks in the NPS. There WILL be shuttles in play at the time you are visiting, and NO VEHICLES are allowed to drive in the canyon, unless you are staying at the lodge. Zion outfitters (and there is another one in Springdale) rents shoes, wetsuits, pants, shoes, neoprene socks, sticks, etc to hike the narrows. This past year, the Narrows were closed quite often due to snow melt. Check the Zion NPS for current conditions. I think if the Virgin River is faster than 150cfs, they will close it. I know in 2016 it was closed for several months due to higher snow melt.

Oct 11, 2017 at 12:22 AM

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