Photos in Slide Show:
- Inside the Subway looking out
- A photogenic water “staircase” in the Left Fork of North Creek
- Fossilized dinosaur track in North Creek
- Another photogenic cascade in the Left Fork of North Creek
- The entrance to the aptly named, Subway
- The rock-bottomed Subway is carved with numerous pools
- Inside the Subway
One of Zion National Park’s most fascinating landmarks is The Subway. The exquisitely carved Subway is found in the Left Fork of North Creek, in the park’s western section. It is a culmination of many spectacular water features found in North Creek including falls, cascades, water “staircases”, pools, tubs, and swimming holes.
The Subway and North Creek are not that well known to tourists because there is no formal “trail”. However it is well known to knowledgeable hikers and backpackers who vie for limited permits to access the site. Conventional hikers work their way into the lower canyon and then head upstream to the Subway. While the lower canyon is a challenging but nontechnical route, the upper canyon beyond the Subway is one of Zion’s great adventures requiring rappelling, route-finding, and swimming. Read the full story, “The Subway – Hiking the Left Fork of North Creek”.
Photo Tips: This is a strenuous 9-mile round-trip hike through the Left Fork of North Creek that requires route finding, creek crossing, and scrambling over boulders. You must be very physically fit, have good agility and balance, and be comfortable dealing with rough places. The Subway is a day use area only and requires a backcountry permit even for the non-technical “From the Bottom Up” route. The key is to travel light and arrive early at the trailhead. It takes a full day to see the Subway and at least some of its beautiful rock formations. For more tips on hiking the Left Fork of North Creek to the Subway (“From the Bottom Up”), please read the full article.
The “From the Top Down” route via Russell Gulch is a strenuous 9.5-mile hike that requires rappelling skills, 60 feet of rope, and extensive route finding experience. The route also requires swimming through several deep pools of very cold debris-filled water. The trail begins at the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead and ends at the Left Fork Trailhead and requires either a second car or a shuttle service. Plan on using a drybag to keep your camera and gear dry.