Zion National Park – Left Fork Trail – The Slide

This is the third and final post for this second trip on the Zion Subway trail, officially called the “Left Fork” Trail.

It’s a very rugged trail, about 9 miles round trip scrambling over boulders and crossing the river many, many times. The scrambling and length of the trail makes it a difficult hike, much more so than the Narrows trail which I have written about. The first decent and even more so final assent back up is brutally steep.  ….

The first time I did the hike was on November 5, 2015. This time it was November 10, 2021.

I went back this time specifically for the images in my previous two articles. This hike, all the leaves were down, but there were some beautiful pools with swirling leaves and I pretty much had the place to myself.

For photography purposes , it’s best to be on the trail at dawn in order to get to the best spots around noon or 1:00 PM when the reflected light is best. The key spots are all bunched near the end of the trek.

The Subway is the end of the trail but you pass numerous waterfalls and beautiful scenes along the way.

This is a world class hike. Spots are limited and the hike is on a lottery system. You need a permit and fines are very steep for hiking without one.

There were empty open slots this time because it was not on a weekend and most likely because the leaves were down.

Early to Mid-November is the best time to hike. Competition for open slots on weekends in September and October is intense.

Feature Image Details

Tips and Techniques

  1. For the best possible images, you need a tripod. That adds to the weight you need to carry.
  2. A circular polarizer helps greatly to remove unwanted reflections. It also slows the shutter speed to capture the motion.
  3. Reflected light is always the best light in these canyons.
  4. The best light in the 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM.

This images is focus stacked. That means blending several different images, one focused on the foreground, one in the middle, one on the background.

The closer you are to the foreground, the more images you need. Three usually works for the types of images I take. For an extreme closeup of an insects eye you might need 50 images.

Additional Images 

On this tip, there were no leaves at Archangel Falls or The Crack. (links 2 and 3 below). But I got a better image inside the Subway and also a nice images right at the entrance of the Subway.

Archangel Falls (Previous Trip)

Don’t Slide the Slide

I do not know if there is an official name for this waterfall. I call it “The Slide”. There are many beautiful spots on this hike but I have not seen a picture of this waterfall before.

People are in a hurry to get to The Crack and The Subway after stopping at Archangel Falls. If the Subway fills up with people and about 6 or 7 will do it, you might have to wait a long time for a chance. So people skip this spot in a rush to get elsewhere.

If you do this hike in the summer or Fall when it’s hot out you may be tempted to slide down this formation.

It’s dangerous. I met a woman on an organized hike last weekend who slid down the rock. She hurt her tail bone badly and it hurt for weeks after.

One time my wife Liz and I hiked Kanarraville Canyon Utah. There is a similar formation that people like to slide on. It’s about a 3 mile one-way hike to that spot. We had to stand aside while stretchers came though. A woman broke he ankle on that slide.

Go for the scenery not for an excursion down the slide no matter how hot it is outside.

Other Zion National Park Articles 

  1. Zion National Park – Subway Trek Part Three – Inside the Subway
  2. Zion National Park – Subway Trek Part Two – The Crack
  3. Zion National Park – Subway Trek Part One – Archangel Falls
  4. Zion National Park Autumn – Great White Throne
  5. Zion National Park – Autumn – Lower Emerald Pools Part 1
  6. Zion National Park – Autumn – Lower Emerald Pools Part 2 (After a Rainfall)
  7. Zion National Park – Autumn – Middle and Upper Emerald Pools
  8. Zion National Park – The Watchman – Autumn
  9. Zion National Park – Autumn – Hiking “The Narrows” Part I
  10. Zion National Park – Autumn – Hiking “The Narrows” Part II
  11. Zion National Park – Autumn – Hiking “The Narrows” Part III
  12. Zion National Park – Autumn – Clear Creek
  13. Zion Narrows Take IV (Just how Waterproof is Canon’s EOS Mirrorless R5?) Part II
  14. Zion National Park – Left Fork Trail – Subway
  15. Zion National Park – Left Fork Trail – Subway Entrance


Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

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Much more coming including more Narrows images from this last trip: Click to Subscribe by Email.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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