On day 4, we woke up well rested to a chilly morning. We prepared a massive breakfast feast to get rid of some of the stuff in our cooler. We made eggs, bagels and cream cheese, cut up some avocados…It was like camping in Heaven, and we took our time! As we all enjoyed lightening our load of groceries, we packed up and made our way back to Springdale to spend some time in the town. The shops and outfitters were a blast to explore! Amongst all of the touristy T-shirts and hats (one of which I just had to purchase), there are some pretty cool stores with sweet camping and hiking gear, which was a really fun break for our group.
After our town exploration, we went to the Zion visitors center to pick up our permits for our most strenuous hike so far- The Subway. Kim and Alex didn't come with us since our original permit was booked for five people. And, yes, you do need a permit! This permit is much easier to obtain than a Havasupai permit, but you do have to book it a few months in advance. You can apply for the lottery system online at the Zion National Park website. However, when we arrived at the Subway trailhead, we realized they most likely could have hiked with us even though they weren't included in the original permit. We think the permit would have covered our whole group, and it is in a very remote area so we saw little signs of other people except a few times on the hike itself. There are two routes you can choose from for this hike. We chose the Bottom Up route, which is a little easier than the Top Down route, which requires special gear, wetsuits, repelling, and more.
The subway hike was strenuous… very strenuous. And we did the “easy” route! There is a short downhill trail to get to the main “trail” which consists of following the river until you arrive. Even though this makes for an incredible scenic hike, it is also rough on the knees and ankles considering there is very little marked trail to follow. Scrambling over boulders, jumping across the water, and practically repelling down vines and rock walls were just a few of the requirements on this 10 mile round trip excursion.
The Subway was absolutely incredible. Even though the water was freezing, the site was worth it. I wore my Columbia water sneakers for this hike which was extremely comfortable (a priority for me), but cold on my toes after walking through the water and continuing to hike in wet socks. The other hikers in our group had their waterproof hiking shoes on which worked just as well! My recommendation with this hike is to wear something comfortable as it is a longer hike, yet be prepared to be ankle deep in water, and slipping and sliding at some points as well. So, definitely make sure to wear something with good traction. The Subway took us 7 hours to complete. This includes our lunch break before we headed back. We refueled on PBJs, Cliff Bars, dried fruit, and cold filtered water from the river using our Sawyer Life Straws. (These little contraptions are so worth it).
When we made it back to the trailhead after an uphill climb that seemed to last forever, we went to Springdale for beer and ice and headed back to Smithsonian Butte where Kim and Alex had gone early to claim our spot from the night before. Needless to say we were absolutely exhausted, but a fire, some S’mores, and a little 90’s music playing on our portable speaker was enough to keep us up for a little while. We passed out rather quickly after the Marshmallows filled us up, and got ready for our third day in Zion- which turned out to be my most challenging, yet my favorite.