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The Subway (Top-Down) - Zion National Park

This 7.5-mile trail takes hikers through one of the most beautiful sections of slot canyon in Zion National Park.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 7.5 miles
Duration: Full day

Overview :  The Subway is a strenuous day-long hike with some beginner technical canyoneering aspects. The route involves several short rappels,... more »

Tips:  You will need a backcountry permit to hike the Subway. You can reserve permits for your group 3 months in advance by going to https://... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Wildcat Trailhead

Go east for 1 mile.

2. Junction with Wildcat Canyon Connector Trail

Turn east (left) and go 300 yards.

3. Junction with the North Gate Peaks Spur Trail

Turn south (right) for 200 yards.

4. Trail Fork

Turn east (left) and go for a long time.

5. Slickrock Saddle

The route goes through the slickrock saddle with a large hoodoo in the middle.

6. Confluence of Russel Gulch and Left Fork

The last 100 yards is a steep descent to the canyon bottom. Use care.

7. Obstacle 1: A Large Boulder

The first obstacle is a large boulder. There are several ways to navigate past this obstacle. There is a large hole on the left (south) that you can downclimb through. Or if you have sure feet, you can just walk down the face of the boulder. Some groups choose to pull out their rope here, but it is not necessary.

8. Bowling Ball Corridor

This corridor requires about 40 feet of swimming and features a large, round chockstone wedged between the canyon walls.

From Steve625: "As of 9/30/11 the 'Bowling Ball' now has a large log jammed against the ball and requires swimming under and around the log."

9. Obstacle 2: Keyhole Falls (Upper End of the Subway)

Keyhole falls requires a rope for a handline. Anchor the handline to the bolts on the north (right) side of the canyon. This marks the upper end of The Subway.

10. The Subway

The Subway itself is only about 1/4 mile long. It is named because the round canyon walls and perfectly straight cracks are reminiscent of a subway tunnel and rails.

11. Obstacle 3: Cliffs and Waterfall (Lower End of the Subway)

The last obstacle is a 30 foot cliff, which can be passed several ways. There are a couple of anchor bolts to rappel from on the left (south). To get to them, you'll have to go past the waterfall on the left. Alternatively, you can rappel off a long by the waterfall, or you can scramble down the cliff between the bolts and the waterfall.

Once... More

12. Dinosaur Tracks

About 1.5 miles below the Subway are several dinosaur tracks.

From climb-utah.com: "Several slabs of light gray mudstone are covered with dinosaur tracks. The stone is a fossilized lakebed from the Kayenta Formation, containing tracks laid down in the early Jurassic Period. The tracks belong to a bipedal carnivore. If you are looking at the... More

13. Junction

Exit the canyon to the north. The exit route is signed "Left Fork Trailhead."

14. Grapevine Wash

You're almost there!

15. Left Fork Trailhead