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How to Obtain a Zion Subway Hiking Permit: A Traveler’s Guide

Heading 1: Introduction to the Zion Subway Hike

When it comes to exploring the awe-inspiring beauty of nature, few places can match the grandeur of Zion National Park in Utah, United States. One of the park’s most iconic hikes is the Zion Subway, a magnificent slot canyon that offers outdoor enthusiasts a unique and unforgettable adventure. However, before embarking on this remarkable journey, it is essential to obtain a permit. In this article, we will guide you through the process of obtaining a permit to hike the Zion Subway, ensuring that you are well prepared for this extraordinary experience.

Part 2: Understanding the Zion Subway Permit System

To protect the fragile ecosystem and ensure visitor safety, Zion National Park has implemented a permit system for hiking the Zion Subway. The permit system is designed to manage the number of hikers in the canyon and reduce environmental impact. There are a limited number of permits available each day, and obtaining a permit is essential for access to the Subway.
The permit system consists of two types: the Advance Lottery and the Last Minute Drawing. The Advance Lottery allows individuals to apply for a permit several months in advance, while the Last Minute Drawing provides an opportunity to obtain any remaining permits two to seven days before the desired hiking date. It’s important to note that both methods require a certain amount of luck, as demand often exceeds availability.

Step 3: Apply for the Advance Lottery Permit

To increase your chances of receiving a permit for the Zion Subway, it is recommended that you enter the Advance Lottery. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the application process:

  1. Visit the official Zion National Park website and navigate to the permit section.
  2. Read the rules and regulations for the Zion Subway hike.
  3. Determine the dates you would like to hike and choose alternate dates as availability may be limited.
  4. Complete the online registration form, providing accurate information about you and your group.
  5. Pay the non-refundable application fee, which covers the cost of processing your permit application.
  6. Submit your application by the deadline. The lottery usually opens several months in advance, so plan accordingly.
  7. Wait for the lottery results. Successful applicants will be notified by email, while unsuccessful applicants can try their luck in the Last Minute Drawing or choose alternative hiking options within the park.

Step 4: Enter the Last Minute Drawing

If you were unable to secure a permit through the Advance Lottery or have spontaneous hiking plans, the Last Minute Drawing is another option. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Visit the official Zion National Park website and navigate to the Last Minute Drawing section.
  2. Check for available permits two to seven days before your desired hiking date.
  3. Submit an online application during the designated application window, which is usually open for a limited time.
  4. Pay non-refundable application fee.
  5. Wait for lottery results. If selected, you will be notified by email and payment for the permit will be required within a specified timeframe.
  6. If you are not selected or miss the Last Minute Drawing window, explore alternative hiking options within Zion National Park.

Heading 5: Important Tips for a Successful Zion Subway Hike

Once you’ve received your Zion Subway permit, it’s important to prepare for the hike to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Consider the following tips:

  1. Plan your trip well in advance, including arranging transportation, lodging, and necessary hiking gear.
  2. Check the weather forecast and be prepared for changing conditions. Flash floods are a potential hazard in slot canyons, so avoid hiking during or immediately after heavy rain.
  3. Carry sufficient water and food for the duration of the hike as there are no reliable water sources in the canyon.
  4. Wear appropriate footwear with ankle support and good traction on slippery surfaces.
  5. Familiarize yourself with the route, bring a detailed map or GPS device, and consider hiring a guide if you don’t have experience navigating slot canyons.
  6. Leave no trace by following the principles of responsible hiking: remove all trash, respect wildlife and vegetation, and stay on designated trails to minimize your impact on the fragile ecosystem.

By following these guidelines and obtaining the necessary permits, you’ll be well prepared for the unforgettable adventure of hiking the Zion Subway. Enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the canyon while respecting and preserving the natural environment for future generations.


How do I get a permit to hike the Zion subway?

To obtain a permit for hiking the Zion Subway, you need to participate in a lottery system. The lottery is conducted by the National Park Service and allows a limited number of hikers to access the Subway each day. Here’s how you can enter the lottery:

What is the lottery system for hiking the Zion subway?

The lottery system for hiking the Zion Subway is a random selection process conducted by the National Park Service. It allows hikers to enter for a chance to obtain a permit to access the Subway. The lottery is held on a rolling basis, and you can apply for a permit up to three months in advance of your desired hiking date.

How can I enter the lottery for a Zion subway permit?

To enter the lottery for a Zion Subway permit, you need to visit the official website of the National Park Service. Look for the specific lottery application page for the Subway hike. Fill out the required information, including your preferred hiking date and the number of people in your group. You will be notified via email if you are selected in the lottery.

What are the alternatives if I don’t win the Zion subway lottery?

If you are not successful in the Zion Subway lottery, there are alternative hiking options available in Zion National Park. Some popular alternatives include hiking The Narrows, Angel’s Landing, Observation Point, or other scenic trails in the park. These hikes offer unique experiences and breathtaking views that make Zion National Park a remarkable destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Are there any other ways to hike the Zion subway without a permit?

No, hiking the Zion Subway without a permit is not allowed. The permit system is in place to manage the number of visitors and ensure the preservation of the delicate ecosystem. The Subway hike requires technical canyoneering skills, and it’s important to prioritize safety and environmental protection by following the park’s regulations and obtaining the necessary permits.