The Narrows is another popular hike at the Zion National Park, right up there in popularity with Angels Landing, it could get crowded depending when you go.
Jolin and I hiked the Narrows in June, the water level was not too high and temperature was chilly but bearable. The morning of the hike we drove to Zion Adventure Company in Springdale right outside the park to check the water level, if the water level is too high sometime they will close off the trail. We rented canyoneer boots, neoprene socks, and hiking pole as recommended by a lot of TripAdvisor members for $23. Having tried the boots in the canyon, I would highly recommend renting them! The Narrows is completely doable with your hiking boots or even sneakers, but the boots provided insane grip on wet rock underwater, I did not feel any slippage even once. And besides, would you really want to deal with wet shoes and wet socks after the hike?
After arriving at the trail head via the Zion Nation Park shuttle, we hiked a bit before we get to the beginning of the Narrows. Once there, we immediately have to start walking in the water, there is no keeping your feet dry on this trail. There were a lot of families clustered around this section, many of them just staying here for photo ops or to relax. I noticed about 1/3 the people were using hiking pole and rental boots, and the people without moved around slower and more carefully (although there were crazy exceptions) but the trail was definitely doable without the hardcore gear.
From this point on it was an endless march in ankle-deep water, knee-deep water, once in awhile hip-deep water. There were always people around, the crowd did not thin out until we get deep into the Narrows.
After a good 4 hours into the hike, the air temperature noticebly dropped and thunder could be heard in the far distance. The lone middle-aged hiker coming towards us from where we were going said we probably should turn back. The idea of flash flood has been drilled into my head from all the warnings at Zion Adventure Company as well as various videos I have watched prior to this trip. Jolin and I snapped a few more photos around the bend and headed back where we came, the entire time I was keeping my ears open, watching for additional debris in the water, as well as mentally checking for high grounds we could run to in case of an actual flood.
Thankfully none came.
Although deep down I was also disappointed I did not get to apply all the flash flood rescure manuvers that I learned.
Overall the hike was adequet. Wading in the river was fun for the first 30 minutes, after the novelty wore off it was just a straight walk with rare deep wading. There were a lot of hikers on this trail and by now you know how I feel about crowd. While the rock formation looked great they also started to look the same after awhile. You could argue that I did not hike all the way to the end, but from speaking to other seasoned hikers, the walls do not consistently get narrower, it varies between narrow to wide and was told that the views would look relatively the same. Now, if you can hike the Narrows from the top down (requires permit and guide), that would be a completely different story, but hiking the Narrows from the shuttle stop, it was just adequet, even though many visitors raved about this trail.
Personally if wading in a river excits you and can keep you excited, this would be a great trail, otherwise also look into The Subway (requires permit). It supposedly has a good mix of river wading as well as wilderness hiking, which may provide more variety and less crowd compared to the Narrows.
Did I also mention that there is no bathroom along The Narrows?