Virgin River in Utah

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Virgin River


Even as a source of the erosion that created the canyons, the Virgin River still offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy it as a river unto itself, with fishing, whitewater rafting, kayaking and tubing.

  • Escape the summer heat by tubing the Virgin River in Springdale.
  • Hold your paddle tight as you take a whitewater raft over Class V rapids during spring runoff.
  • Go fishing in the Virgin River for some rainbow trout on the East Fork.
  • A popular weekend spot, Kolob Reservoir is regularly stocked with trout.

Overview

The Virgin River has many different forks that eventually meet. The North Fork runs through the Zion Narrows and Zion Canyon, where it meets with the East Fork, then heads southwest through the Virgin River before finally meeting with the Colorado River in Nevada.

There are many forks that eventually meet with the main stream: East Fork, North Fork, Right Fork, North Left Fork, South Left Fork and others. There's enough forks to fill a cabinet!

Location & Information

Stretching 162 miles from head to the Colorado, the Virgin River meanders from north of Zion National Park, through the northwest corner of Arizona, ending in Lake Mead, near Las Vegas. 

For more information about the river, contact the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources at (435) 865-6100.

Activities

Fishing
Most fishing on the Virgin River is located before the forks pick up silt from the canyons and the rapids churn the water to point that most species of fish simply can't live in it. 

  • North Fork - The Kolob Reservoir, about 18 miles north of Zion National Park, is a stocked reservoir, with plenty of opportunity to catch something to take home.
  • East Fork - North of Glendale, along UT-89, the East Fork is known to hold rainbow trout and more for the adventurous angler.

Rafting / Kayaking
The rapids on Virgin River are generally short, but intense, making great rafting and kayaking opportunities for those looking to get out on the river.  The season is generally during spring run-off, running from mid-April to late May.

  • Timpoweap Canyon - This 3-mile stretch starts in Virgin and takes out in La Verkin. Class IV and V rapids are here, fluctuating an entire class level from high to low water. Not to be taken lightly.
  • La Verkin to Hurricane - These rapids top out at Class III, making this 13 miles of the Virgin River, Utah perfect for a scenic float, or a rafting trip with kids and family.
  • Virgin River Gorge - Broken into the easier, Class III Upper Gorge and the rougher, Class IV Lower Gorge, this 33-mile stretch passes through the impressive Virgin River Gorge, starting in Bloomington, UT and ending in Littlefield, AZ.

Tubing
A great way to spend a summer day is floating the beautiful Virgin River, UT on an inner tube through Zion Canyon. Adventure companies in and around Springdale will provide tubes and transportation. Availability is dependent on water levels.

Fun Facts

There are a couple of the forks to the Virgin River that don't have names. It's almost as if they ran out of names to choose from!


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Other Resources
  • Virgin River Program
    The Virgin River Program is dedicated to balancing human interests on the Virgin River along with the necessary conservation of the area's ecosystem.
  • Virgin River Runners Coalition
    The Virgin River Runners Coalition is dedicated to improving river running access and boating rights along the Virgin River in southern Utah.