The Subway – Zion National Park


Article Categories: Hiking
Article Tags: Day Hikes | Hiking | Utah | Zion

Hiking the Subway in Zion national park is an incredible experience. Only around 80 people are allowed to hike it per day, and you must obtain a permit before parking at the trailhead. If you have the chance to land a permit, be sure to take advantage.

Distance: 6.5 mile round trip (10.46 km)

Hike Time: 5-8 hours

Difficulty: Intermediate

Trails Map Directions Permit Weather

The Trails

The trail to the subway isn’t really a trail, but a river, the Left Fork of North Creek. At the trailhead, you quickly descend down to the Left Fork, where you begin the 4.5 mile trek up along the sides of the Left Fork River to the subway. You will have to rock hop many times, cross the river, and you will see many beautiful pools of water (many of which contain rainbow trout).

The less common, but many consider more exciting route to the Subway is from the top down beginning at the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead. This route is a 9.5 mile through hike, and requires 60 feet of rope, rock rappeling, and someone that can ensure you won’t get lost. You will also need to swim for various portions of the hike.

Both Trailheads are located on Kolob Terrace Road. (See directions below)


Trail Map

We made this trail map of the bottom up hike for you from the Left Fork Of North Creek Trailhead:

Zion Subway Trail Map

Zion Subway Trail Map

The Subway Trail Map - Zion National park

The Subway Hike: Bottom Up

From the Left Fork Trailhead parking area, you will quickly begin descending down towards the river in which you will walk all the way up to the subway. (The picture below is taken just after the trailhead, pointing towards your destination, The Subway. You can see the river down below.

Left Fork Trailhead

The Subway

I don’t want to give away too many pictures, but this will hopefully these will give you enough reason to check this hike out.

Subway Hike Zion

The Waterfall Room

Wanna go for a swim? In order to reach the waterfall room, you are going to have to hop into a couple pools of water, and swim to your reward. Its worth it.


The Subway Hiking Permit

There are a couple of ways you can obtain a permit. You can apply online, 3 months in advance of your trip with a $5 lottery fee (non-refundable). You can also apply for a last minute drawing 2-7 days in advance of the hike, or you can get a walk-in permit the day of or the day before your hike. This last is a risky option, but during less frequented months, you can almost guarantee a spot this way.

Walk-In Permits can be obtained at the Zion National Park Visitor Center

Want to apply online? See here:


Permit Costs:

$15 for 1-2 people

$20 for 3-7 people

$25 for 8-12 people


What to Wear Hiking the Subway?

You should be prepared to get your feet wet at the end of the hike, and potentially early on during high water times. Like the narrows, you may be hiking with wet feet all day. Simply be prepared for this and staying warm for whatever the temperature conditions are going to be.


Directions to Trailheads on Kolob Terrace Road.

Left Fork Trailhead (Bottom Up)

Wildcat Canyon Trailhead (Top Down)

Other Zion National Park Hikes

If you are a little nervous about hiking the Angel’s Landing trail, or maybe need a few extra hikes in Zion, you should absolutely check out the following:

We also have a guide to the Best Hikes In Zion that you should check out.


Weather Forecast

Springdale, UT

This Afternoon
Sunny. High near 48, with temperatures falling to around 45 in the afternoon. North wind around 5 mph.

Mostly clear. Low around 24, with temperatures rising to around 26 overnight. North northeast wind around 6 mph.

Sunny. High near 52, with temperatures falling to around 47 in the afternoon. Northwest wind around 7 mph.

Monday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 24. North wind around 7 mph.

Sunny, with a high near 45. North wind 7 to 13 mph.

Tuesday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 18.

Sunny, with a high near 47.

Max DesMarais
Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and sharing experiences with others. Max is a published author for various outdoor websites and digital marketing websites. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about