Left Fork (Subway)

Gold canyon with colorful pool

NPS Photo / Brian Moe


Wilderness Permits for the Left Fork of North Creek (Subway)

Recreation.gov Links

Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • There are two different ways to explore the Left Fork of North Creek (Subway) by canyoneering and/or hiking. A Wilderness permit is always required for this area.
  • The Wilderness permit application process is the same for all canyoneers and/or hikers going into Left Fork. The only difference will be the starting and ending trailheads listed on your reservation and permit.
  • All trips into Left Fork involve extensive route finding. Visitors are encouraged to obtain a detailed route description and/or travel with someone that has successfully completed a trip into this area in the past. Paid guided trips are not permitted.
  • The Left Fork of North Creek is a day-use area only. Overnight camping is not permitted.
  • While preparing for your trip, consider your interests, time, and the ability level of your group. Always have a backup plan in mind.
  • Everyone entering into the Left Fork of North Creek must abide by all Canyoneering Regulations.

Wilderness Transportation

Permit holders must arrange their own transportation to the Wildcat and/or Left Fork Trailhead to complete their route.

Group Size Limits

  • The maximum group size for The Left Fork (Subway) is 12 people. The maximum group size for Das Boot and Russell Gulch is 6 people.

  • A group is any number of people sharing the same affiliation (e.g., club, scout troop, colleagues, family, friends, etc.) that enter a canyon or trail on the same day, even if they have multiple permits.
  • A minimum group size of 2 people is recommended for all technical canyons involving the use of rope, webbing, or other device for descent or ascent.
  • Group size limits are strictly enforced. Permits will be denied and violators will be cited if limits are exceeded.

Structured and Guided Activities

  • Structured and/or formally guided activities facilitated by educational, commercial, or like organizations are authorized to occur only on frontcountry trails.

  • Such activities are not authorized to take place in park Wilderness areas. (Primitive and Pristine Zones)

Left Fork (Subway) Bottom-Up Hiking Route

This is a very strenuous 9-mile round-trip hike through the Left Fork of North Creek that requires route finding, hiking in ankle to knee deep water, and scrambling over large boulders. This route begins and ends at the Left Fork Trailhead on the Kolob Terrace Road.Click here for additional trip planning information.

Left Fork (Subway) Top-Down Canyoneering Route

This is a very strenuous 9.5-mile through-hike that requires rappelling skills, 60 feet of rope, and extensive route finding experience. The route also requires swimming through several deep pools of very cold debris-filled water. The route begins at the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead and ends at the Left Fork Trailhead. Both trailheads are located on the Kolob Terrace Road.


The Seasonal Lottery

  • An online Seasonal Lottery is held for all trips, all year, into the Left Fork of North Creek (Subway) to obtain a reservation for a Wilderness permit.
  • Online applications must be submitted during the lottery window, up to four months in advance, with up to four choices for dates.
  • Applications are limited to one request per individual, per canyon, per season.
  • Choose your four prioritized dates carefully so that you do not need to change your application.
  • Applicants will be sent a notification email on the 27th day of the month with information about the status of their request.
  • Successful applicants will need to claim their reservation on rec.gov within two weeks of the results notification email.
  • There is a $6.00 non-refundable fee for the Seasonal Lottery application. Apply for the Left Fork Seasonal Lottery

Seasonal Lottery Dates:

For a trip in: Seasonal Lottery applications received in:
January November 1 - November 25
February November 1 - November 25
March November 1 - November 25
April February 1 - February 25
May February 1 - February 25
June February 1 - February 25
July May 1 - May 25
August May 1 - May 25
September May 1 - May 25
October August 1 - August 25
November August 1 - August 25
December August 1 - August 25

The Daily Lottery: 2 Days in Advance

  • An online Daily Lottery for Wilderness permits is an option for canyoneering and/or hiking trips when the Seasonal Lottery or Calendar Reservations are fully booked.
  • Individuals can apply for the Daily Lottery to obtain any remaining reservations for permits.
  • The Daily Lottery is limited to one request per individual, per canyon. Applications can be submitted two days prior to a trip date, between 12:00 am MT and 3:00 pm MT.
  • The daily lottery drawing is held at 3:00 pm MT. Applicants will then be sent a notification email with information about the status of their request by 4:00 pm MT.
  • Any spaces not taken through the Daily Lottery and Seasonal Lottery will be available as Walk-in Permits the day before or day of a trip date.
  • There is a $6.00 non-refundable fee for the Daily Lottery. Apply for the Daily Lottery.

Obtain Your Wilderness Permit

  • Plan your trip itinerary to allow sufficient time to obtain your permit the day of, or the day before your trip during our Hours of Operation.
  • Allow for at least 20 minutes to obtain a permit. Come prepared with all vehicle(s) information: make, model, and license plate(s).
  • All Wilderness permits must be obtained in-person at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center Wilderness Desk.
  • The individual listed as the reservation holder must be the one to obtain the permit, please plan accordingly.

Permit Cost:

Lottery Application Fee: $6 lottery application fee (non-refundable)
Per Person Fee: $10 per person (refundable)
The reservation fee (in lieu of the lottery application fee) and per person fee are also charged for first-come, first-served permits that are issued in person. This fee supports the permit and reservation management system.

Wilderness Permits are Non-Transferable

Traveling in the Zion Wilderness requires careful planning and preparation. Permit holders assume the responsibility of ensuring that their group is aware of the risks involved, is self-reliant, has developed a back-up plan, and will follow park regulations. Because these are such important aspects of trip planning and resource protection, permits for trips into the Zion Wilderness are non-transferable.

If you cannot participate in your trip, please cancel your reservation to provide opportunities for others. If other members of your group still wish to participate in a planned trip, you may coordinate with a new prospective permit holder for them to immediately reserve the available spaces or sites, as soon as your reservation has been cancelled.

You may cancel your reservation online by logging in to your Recreation.gov account.

Plan your trip itinerary to allow sufficient time to obtain your permit the day of, or day before the trip during Zion Wilderness Desk Hours of Operation. The individual listed on reservation must be the one to obtain the permit, please plan accordingly.

Zion Express Membership

  • Zion Express Membership allows visitors who regularly visit the park, and are familiar with the park resources, to obtain a login account to create online reservations and convert them into Wilderness Permits from home.

  • To become a member, applicants must watch three orientation films at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center Wilderness Desk. (Membership cannot be obtained in the Kolob Canyons.)

  • After watching the films, applicants will sign a Zion Express Program Agreement form and obtain a username and password for their member account.

  • There is no cost for enrollment. Membership is valid for the remainder of the current year and for the next two calendar years.

  • Memberships may be cancelled if any regulations are violated.


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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Zion National Park
1 Zion Park Blvd.

Springdale, UT 84767


If you have questions, please email zion_park_information@nps.gov. Listen to recorded information by calling anytime 24 hours a day. Rangers answer phone calls from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT, but a ranger may not answer if they are already speaking with someone else.

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