The Subway

Location: Zions National Park
Rating: Intermediate 3B III
Length: 6-12 hours
Longest Rappel: 35ft (10m)
Start: Wildcat Canyon Trailhead
End: Left Fork Canyon trailhead
Permits: Yes
Wet Suit: Not needed | Recommended in cold weather
Shuttle: Yes (no if your hiking up and back)

** Permits can be obtained from Zion National park through an online lottery system. The lottery is 2 days, 7 days or 3 months in advance. Mystery and Subway are the only canyons with a lottery 3 months in advance. Click here for site lottery.

Overview:  The cream of the crop for beauty! The Subway is so named for its rounded corridors, splendid diversity and magnificence. One of the most beautiful hikes anyone can do. The Subway is a strenuous hike with several down-climbs, swims, navigational difficulty and hand-line spots. The first time in the canyon my brother and I were able to ascend the canyon quite a ways up without the aid of a rope. Being 6’5” and a climber helped out. Bring a 50ft rope or hand-line for there are some tricky spots. Bring full rappelling gear if so inclined. The water within the canyon is typically 60-50°f (freezing) and cannot be avoided if trekking through. The canyon opens to the sun so grin and bear it or prepare your adventure with wetsuits.


From Virgin turn north on the Kolob Reservoir Road. Left Fork Trailhead is on the right 8.1 miles from Virgin. Leave a car here. After another 7 miles you come to Wildcat Canyon Trailhead. Begin hike on toward the Subway on the Wildcat Canyon trial. Once you reach a “T” in the trail head South, (right) and follow social trails and cairns toward the Subway entrance. Once you reach a peak where is seems to go nowhere, drop to the southwest where you will find a moderate down-climb along a steep, dirty gully.


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