Utah Wild & Scenic Rivers

Hikers passing through The Narrows along Kolob Creek
In The Narrows of Kolob Creek

The rivers and streams in the list below are all tributaries of the Virgin River. Some are little more than creeks, even in times of heavy snowmelt. The "Wild & Scenic River" designations came essentially hand-in-hand with the Congressional designation of the wilderness areas most of them are sourced in or flow across. All are in close vicinity to (or partially within) Zion National Park.

The total mileage of the designated Wild & Scenic Rivers in Utah is 169.3, of which 145.4 miles are classed Wild, 11.3 miles classed as Scenic and 12.6 miles classed as Recreational.

Many of the rivers and creeks around Zion National Park flow through deep slot canyons, cut into a thick layer of Navajo sandstone over the millenia by the erosive action of snowmelt, seeps and spring water, much of which flows out through layers of softer material in the otherwise hard red sandstone cliffs. Most of these streams go pretty dry in the summer and fall, which is good for hikers along them as most trails follow the water courses directly, especially in the slot canyon areas. That said, hikers in these canyons need to be aware of weather conditions in the area as rainfall upstream of where they can see will often lead to flash flooding in the canyons below.

The links in the list below generally lead to stream descriptions and maps on the wilderness (and National Park) pages they are most associated with.

Wild & Scenic Rivers

Upper photo courtesy of TheArmchairExplorer, CCA-by-SA 4.0 international License
Upper left photo courtesy of the National Park Service