The Subway (Zion National Park, Utah); Part One

“The Subway” (Zion National Park, UTAH); Part One

Hannah and I probably violated some “code of conduct” for vacationers by crawling out of bed at 6:15 our first morning at Zion National Park, but The Subway was a permit-only hike, and we had to be among the first in line at the back country permit window that morning to gain passage to our favored adventure.  We figured we’d snag a permit, eat some breakfast and get in a morning run before the boys even noted signs of daylight.

Zach and Matt grabbed their own breakfast next door at Cafe Soleil (which became our favored morning nutrition stop) while Hannah and I ran the Pa’ rus Trail (“Rushing Water). That trail was a simple paved affair with some marvelous views of our stunning surroundings. There would be nothing simple about The Subway.

UTAH: ZION NP; SUBWAY; Z and H at top of the Left Fork Trail
After a false and somewhat comical start on what we later dubbed the “pseudo-Subway” trail, we found the real trail head for our day’s endeavor off of Kolob Terrace Road. We reapplied sunscreen, strapped on our packs and set off on a red sand trail through a juniper woods.

UTAH: ZION NP; SUBWAY; top of trail
It was hot –well into the 100’s– but we had water, food and a lot of enthusiasm. When the sparse woods ended at the sheer edge of a cliff, and the trail ahead appeared better suited to small goats, however, I had a moment of doubt. Were my kids up to this? Was I? I have a mental “wobble” with heights which is why I have regularly pushed myself to confront them. While this has worked well for me, I still house a slightly unreasonable fear for my children at heights above, say, the low dive at the swimming pool. Could I really allow my kids to creep along edges that gave me chills in stifling heat?

UTAH: ZION NP; SUBWAY; Z,M and H in Left Fork of North Creek
It became a team thing, and that made all the difference. No one stepped down without reaching back to help the next. We called out the “loose rocks” and “slippery” sand spots. It took almost forever in the intense heavy heat, but eventually we reached the Left Fork of North Creek some 400 feet below and soaked ourselves in the cooling waters.

We were in another world now and knew we were walking into a new world of wonderful.

The Subway (Zion National Park); Part Two

Springdale Things To Do

23 Comments to The Subway (Zion National Park, Utah); Part One

  1. That walk sounds a little spooky but what wonderful rewards for your efforts! It will be hard to go home after such a holiday.

  2. Sorry I haven’t been around, I only have limited access to the internet. I think you take such beautiful photos, thanks so much for sharing them…have a great wekend…;)

  3. Sounds absolutely wonderful. So enjoyed reading all about it.

  4. This sounds such a beautiful place, Heather. It must be a jewel if you have to get there early for a permit pass.

    Well done to your band of adventurers!

  5. Wow, wonderful. That kind of hike is one of many things what makes this life worthwhile. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I am baack…to suck up some of that fresh outdoors and to dream of a life I can only live through you. Sigh!

  7. Heather

    Suzanne, mee mOe and Mara,
    And this was the easy part…! We had some serious fun that day!

  8. Heather


    The most lovely places seem to involve a bit of a walk, huh?

    Unfortunately, on the day we did the Subway a rescue squad had to be called for hikers that weren’t going to make it out of the canyon by sunset. They were part of a larger group that had hiked and rappelled down from the top, and they simply ran out of time and energy. It’s a strenuous hike that requires decent physical condition, a bit of nerve and proper supplies.

  9. Heather

    Thanks! Life feels pretty perfect when you’re doing that sort of hike with people you love…

  10. Heather

    Good to see you! I know your life has been solidly on the busy side lately.
    Don’t give up on outdoor adventures like these… There are so many options available. -Really glad you enjoy the photos etc!

  11. Rayvin and Rob

    Hi Heather,

    Stunning pics! That’s a beautiful place for a walk. Have you ever been to Ontario? Sudbury has over three hundred fresh water lakes. Great fishing. Awesome trails. Just gotta’ watch out for the black bears!

  12. What a FANTASTIC family adventure. Beautiful scenery and a memories that will last a lifetime. 😀 Jeff has to take me to UTAH!!!

    Hugs, JJ

  13. I am he biggest worry wart when it comes to moderately-dangerous things and my kids.

    Several years ago we were at Hocking Hills. As you know, it’s beautiful, but there are no end of things to fall off of. Despite their assurances they wouldn’t slip and fall off any “cliff” edges, I kept the boys well away from anything troublesome-looking.

  14. Heather

    Rayvin and Rob,
    It’s been a few years since I’ve wandered Ontario. I DO remember bears and fish. Probably need to refuel the memory with some fresh experiences in your lovely Province…
    Thanks for reading!

  15. Heather

    Dear Jeff,
    PLEASE take JJ to southern Utah’s National Parks (Hi, I’m Heather -a blog friend of your lovely and engaging wife). The two of you LOVE the outdoors and would feel right at home on the trails of Zion, Bryce, Escalante, Capitol Reef… I promise!
    I really enjoy her photos of your Michigan life and know that she’d find some amazing stuff to share with us all just (slightly) to the west.

    (What do you think JJ?)

  16. Heather

    Yup. I’m with you on that safety stuff. Drove me nuts at times. Probably always will… The irony was remarkable (“My balance is suspect, so BE CAREFUL!”).
    My coping method was to point out the appropriate (maiming/fatality) news stories and statistics. Followed by some extreme and personal deep breathing (think Lamaze plus Steroids)…
    We had a ton of fun. So, I guess it worked…?!

  17. Leonard

    5 of us, all in our mid to late 60’s, very late in my case, did the Subway on July 22nd. For 4 of us, it was the second time. My wife had never been down before. One of us had a touch of hypothermia after swimming the first pool. Another hit the wall at the bottom of the climb out. We lost our rope in the deepest pool and had to rely on the kindness of strangers for two rappels. But, in spite of all, it was magnificent. We’ve been in the Buckskin, Spooky Gulch and Peekaboo, which I guess are a little different but, the Subway really is a wonderful, hard adventure.

  18. Heather


    -Sounds like you had an intensely good time in the Subway! I’m intrigued by the other hikes you mentioned (already thinking ahead to “next time”).

    I think it’s important to venture a couple of steps beyond your “comfort zone” on occasion, or you start missing the good stuff (and don’t even realize it)!

  19. ckq Een plaatje zegt alles, toch ? zra Het volledige rapport is hier te vinden. Lees natuurlijk s de blogposting. g y
    Thanks for interesting post! rkw

  20. Amazing post i must say that was worth reading

  21. Heather

    ламинат: I’m glad you enjoyed my account of our Subway adventure. Thanks for the visit!
    Paris: That hike qualifies as one of my life highlights. It was wonderful to share such an experience with my kids!

  22. Women in your family are much more active than men))))

  23. Cyprus Hotels: I imagine it’s merely a matter of what one is accustomed to! In their early years, kids always want to do whatever mom (and/or dad) do.

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