North Creek, Left Fork

Left Fork North Creek, one among several small rivers that halts the big plateau in the interior of Zion National Park, forms far down canyons that are generally broad and bent downwards. But they become considerably fine upstream, with steep walls of Navajo sandstone—some of them rise to almost fifteen hundred feet extent! The North Creek splits into two forks—left and right; but the canyon of the left—Great West Canyon—is the most wonderful and popular. This is due to a special feature known as The Subway—where the creek runs virtually through a tunnel. It is an outstretched and tubular passage with only an overhead opening.  

You will reach the lower trailhead after driving for eight miles north along the Kolob Reservoir Road—a paved track that meets UT 9 at the town of Virgin, ascends step by step, following near the way of North Creek. On the east side of the road, there is a parking block with hike facts, and the hike begins from two miles after the Zion National Park borderline. Left Fork North Creek is a part of the Zion National Park, so you are required to pay the entry fee for the park. Also, in addition to the entry fee there is a special permit fee for exploring the canyon—imposed due to its increasing popularity, and the permit is given to limited persons daily.  

A fine pointed track winds through a sandy section with shrubs and cacti on the canyon periphery for one mile, and then dips steeply to the river—off four miles upstream to the Subway. Firstly the track is along the South-west side, but it shortly crosses the river several times, and to chase it is not always simple. Generally, there are flat passages on both sides. Though the river has few down reaching pools and stones with some waterfalls, it is normally depthless. With abundance of trees and bushes, it becomes completely covered. The canyon becomes steep and narrow following a bit, and at last the walls come close and the entire canyon ground is covered with water.  

For a little stretch upstream, the canyon is very exciting—smooth, round potholes, down reaching pools, showers, and fine channels. You require ropes at two places to climb steep rocks and make headway up the canyon though most people only go up to the Subway. The hike is a little difficult but very much liked by visitors.



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