October 10th, 2017
After three years of trying we finally had the unique opportunity to hike “The Subway” in Zion National Park. The National Park Service has an advanced lottery and permit reservation system in place to allocate permits to 80 people a day to take this hike. In 2015 we applied for the permit in advance (3 months prior) as well as applied for the last-minute drawing and were not selected.
In 2016, we WON THE LOTTERY!!! We were beside ourselves with joy. For several years we have seen photos and read descriptions of the hike that, to all accounts, seemed completely unreal. We wanted to see this with our own eyes. We hiked Zion National Park for several days prior to our lottery date in anticipation. The night before we loaded up our backpacks and hit the hay early hoping to spring out of our sleeping bags and proceed to the trailhead.
At about 3 am, it began to rain. At the time, we were sleeping in the bed of our truck with our only shelter being an E-Z UP over our heads. We awoke to the sound of the rain hitting the top of the E-Z UP cover. Ahhh! We repeatedly said to each other “it will clear up by the time the sun comes up.” Always trying to be optimistic. Well, the sun never came up and it was raining so hard that the clouds covered the sky keeping it dark and gloomy. We made some coffee and decided to go speak to the ranger prior to making any decision. Still in my PJ’s, coffee cup in hand, we walked to the Wilderness Desk and spoke to a ranger. Our conversation was simple.
Me: “I have Subway permits for today.”
Mr. Ranger: “I wouldn’t recommend it.”
Long story short, we packed up our stuff and headed home in the rain.
2017, we WON THE LOTTERY! Ummm…again. Only this time when we woke up in the morning the weather was great and we knew it was going to be a beautiful day.
That morning, we loaded into our friends Jeep and drove to the trailhead that is outside of the park. There is a small parking area that starts the hike.
The hike heads down the canyon to the river. Then you zigzag your way up the river for several miles. Many guides have been written about this trip so I will keep the details to a minimum.
The river slows and gets more shallow as you go up. After about two miles the scenery becomes even more beautiful.
You will walk up several waterfalls.
Then come around the bend where you will see “The Subway.”
The Subway is a truly surreal sight. The photos taken don’t do the sight justice. (Probably doesn’t help that I am only using a camera phone but, these are all unedited photos)
After hanging out for a while we realized it was getting late. We sat down and had a snack and decided to head back. Good thing we did, the sun started to disappear quickly. Plus it’s a drag to have the last stretch of the day be all uphill in the canyon that we walked down earlier that morning.
This was a long day. Our muscles ached.
I would do it again in a heartbeat.