The Subway/Left Fork

  • Subway - © wiki user FrankEM
  • The Subway Zion NP  - © flickr user Sascha Wenninger
  • Zion Subway Hike  - © wiki user Gary
  • The Subway Zion NP  - © wiki user John Fowler
  • Great West Canyon, the Subway somewhere in there - © William Mackesy

Key information: The Subway/Left Fork

  • One of the world’s best-known slot canyons. Amazing.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating90
  • Beauty34
  • Natural interest17
  • Human interest3
  • Charisma36
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating90

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 24km, Variable
  • Maximum Altitude: 2,274m
  • Level of Difficulty: Variable
Great West Canyon, the Subway somewhere in there - © William Mackesy


The Left Fork of North Creek breaks spectacularly through the high western plateau, from Wildcat Canyon to run below the Kolob Terrace Road.  It contains a superb and famous section of near-subterranean slot canyon known as The Subway. There are two ways to explore it:

From the bottom up: a strenuous 9-mile round-trip hike involving  route finding, creek crossing and scrambling over boulders. You don’t see as much of the amazing sections as from the top-down, but this is a hike not canyoneering, and still a fine and fascinating walk by any standards. Begins and ends at the Left Fork Trailhead on the Kolob Terrace Road.

From the top down: a strenuous and demanding 9.5-mile hike/canyoneer which requires rappelling skills, 60 feet of rope, and extensive route finding experience. You will also need to swim through several deep, cold, clogged pools. The trail begins at the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead, and ends at the Left Fork Trailhead, both on the Kolob Terrace Road.

Permits are required for both routes. Unless you are a specialist, you should  tackle the top-down (and probably the bottom-up) with a guide/experienced hiker of The Subway. Good info here:

The Grand Canyon with Zion and Bryce Canyon NPs – Cicerone: excellent, includes all relevant practical information. Recommended. Find relevant books on Amazon.

See our Zion National Park page for more general and practical information and photos.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Zion Subway Hike  - © wiki user Gary

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

The Subway Zion NP  - © wiki user John Fowler...

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