Hiking Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks
by Erik Molvar & Tamara Martin (Falcon Guides)
© 2013 Erik Molvar & Tamara Martin/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
I've hiked and also rescued many people from this section of Zion. I work for the NPS (Zion) as SAR. The Left Fork of North Creek aka "the subway" is NOT an overnight trip! As a matter of fact, the park does not allow or permit it as an overnight trip! It can be done as an overnight trip only if one were to camp (with camping permit) the night before Left Fork permit, in another designated backcountry, frontcountry or out of the park permittable area.
We started from Left Fork trailhead and attempted to go as far as the dinosour tracks, using the Falcon Guide description. Our party never did find the dinosour tracks. Our experience of the hike was so different from Molvar & Martin's, I wondered if they actually ever hiked the route from below. It was definitely a backcountry route and the trail was difficult to follow at times. Made the hike to Coyote Buttes the next day seem like a walk in the park... On the upside, this hike got us away from the crowds in Zion Canyon and the scenery was incredible. Following North Creek gave us plenty of opportunities to cool off. I rank this one as "strenuous" vs. the "moderately strenuous" ranking in Falcon.
The subway (North Fork Trail) is one of the most scenic desert hikes I have embarked on yet. The above description mentions the need for rope. This was not a necesity for myself and the party I was with. There was one tricky spot that required some really good focus to avoid slipping. There were also spots that already had ancors and rope in the rock that you could grasp to while lowering youself down.
The subway hike requires you to get WET! A good 60% of the hike is through the river.
Permits are required and can be obtained at the rangers station. This is a popular hike and the number of people per party and per day is limited so plan ahead.
There is PLENTY of water if you bring along a filter.
The dinosaur tracks at the end of the trail are hard to find. Bring a guide book or someone who knows where they are. They are truly an interesting look into the past.
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