The Subway: Left Fork North Creek

Last Candition: May 5, 2011


5 out of 5
Date of Trip: October 24, 2019

The water was cold but we stayed warm enough as long as we were moving (3/2 wetsuit). Only got cold when we slowed for the last rappel. Group of 12, took 9.5 hours.

3 out of 5
Date of Trip: September 8, 2019

Didnt bring wetsuits and wouldnt have worn it if I brought it. But it was hotter than hell. The hoodoo you go to to avoid Russell and go into the Subway is obvious, but what is less obvious is staying left on the social trails is the only way to get to it. After you do the down-climb back to the wash that leads to the left fork area, if you find a blue sling as webbing for a 100ish foot rap, you don't have to go this way. You can, but a 200 ft rope wont touch the ground, and you'll have to change stations on a tree about 30 feet off the ground. If youd rather save the time, back up a bit and theres a down-climb canyon left that looks very easy. We had fun on the extra rap though!

5 out of 5
Date of Trip: August 16, 2019

All anchors are in good condition. Still plenty of water to make you wish you had a wetsuit if you run cold. Ran into garter, rattle, and corn snake (scared me, thought it was a coral ) Every time I run through the Subway the exit seems to be getting longer. Great trip with beautiful views

5 out of 5
Date of Trip: July 17, 2019

This space-time irregularity is operating at peak power, as reported below. Ranger busting rule-breakers at the trailhead made for a lovely day with few competing groups. Hint: Do not pretend that your large group of more than 12 people don't know each other and have two totally separate permits. Yeah, that may not work.

5 out of 5
Date of Trip: July 15, 2019

Beautiful canyon. Crystal clear spring water. Cool but not cold. Wetsuits optional right now due to temps in the 90ies. Wear one if you want to hang out in the water and play. Only problem is the hordes of people that exceed the group size limit, have no idea what they are doing, and slow you down to a crawl.

5 out of 5
Date of Trip: June 20, 2019

Looks like the flow has ended. We went prepared for lots of COLD water. Wound up like my other 2 trips in July/August. Russel Gulch waterfall at the bottom of the down-climb was barely existent. Some of us had wetsuits, some didn't. They were cold, but fine. Coldest water was at bowling-ball alley - which you now climb over and down the back-side instead if swimming under. Might be that way until the next flash or longer. I swear the Park Service makes the climb out longer and steeper every time I do it!

5 out of 5
Date of Trip: June 8, 2019

Like a waterpark! Lots of flow, even on the approach, but not scary. If you feel comfortable stemming down a couple feet it's probably easier than normal. Happy to have wetsuits. Logs have moved around. RANGER CHECKED OUR PERMIT

5 out of 5
Date of Trip: March 30, 2019

Beautiful as always. A fair bit of flow with a massive amount of snow still to melt, be wary of the spring flow, when it starts coming it will be significant. Group of 6, 8 hours car to car at an easy pace.

4 out of 5
Date of Trip: September 21, 2018

Anchors in good shape. The water level is lower, with a slight amount of flow. We had a group of 4 with full wetsuits. Wetsuits recommended!

A Short Note:

We encountered a group of 6 people and, except for a girl, they had no wetsuits or harnesses and were very cold. On the final rap they jumped the gap and hand-lined their way down. As one guy jumped he lost his footing on the rounded edge and stumbled across. The penalty points for falling would have been very high. The girl in their group was either too wise or too scared to jump so we helped her down our line.

There have been some recent mishaps in the Subway due to folks being under-prepared or not listening to good advice. The Subway is a beautiful place and it draws a lot of novices so if you’re reading this and are new to canyoneering please do your due diligence before descending.

5 out of 5
Date of Trip: June 14, 2018

Gorgeous! I got very cold for a little bit in a 3/2 (I get cold easily), and so did the guy with no suit. Guy in 4/3 felt good. A huge group of children behind us did it without wetsuits and appeared to survive. RANGER CHECKED OUR PERMIT.

5 out of 5
Date of Trip: April 22, 2018

Water levels a smidgeon higher than what I've seen in the past couple of years. The sand is back in most places but it was still pretty. Logs in certain slots have moved. Water is very very cold.

5 out of 5
Date of Trip: March 30, 2018

All sand has been washed away.

Everything that can be a swim is a swim.

Water read between 34 and 36 degrees until Keyhole Falls where it raised to 45.

Was fine in a 2.5, but this Viking runs a bit hotter than most.

Neoprene strongly advised.

5 out of 5
Date of Trip: October 21, 2017

Flew through the subway with a group of 5 from car to car in 5 hrs 55 mins.

The first two pools were very chilly. So cold in fact that once you get out, your hands are throbbing and aching. But as usual, once the springs come in, it gets significantly warmer. Wetsuits are required in our opinion. We did it right when the sun should have been over the heart of the subway, but due to the time of the year, it wouldn't reach it. So, that's why wetsuits required. Nearly everyone was shaking in their wetsuit while waiting for everyone to rappel...

On the hike out, a lot of the leaves were gone so spotting the trail was easy and made for a quick exit (benefit of this time of year). And a high temp of 72 that day which was perfect for hiking.

Nothing has changed since my summer's descent. Logs were still there by keyhole falls.

No sand in any of the Subway features, except for that small spot where the quicksand is bubbling...I'll let you find it! It's maybe 2 feet deep. Fun!

5 out of 5
Date of Trip: September 3, 2017

The Subway is in great shape. Go now!

5 out of 5
Date of Trip: May 30, 2017

Subway in pretty standard condition. Last of the Sandway washed out over winter. Hasn't flashed in a while so a lot of greenage sticking to the clay waterways.

Log jams in Keyhole Falls make the rap unnecessary.

4 out of 5
Date of Trip: November 19, 2016

Wore wetsuits 4/3, but a group of two was going through without them. No necessary water until after the first rap (the rabbit hole would have required getting in the water). The bowling ball can just be stepped right over easily now. Some of the sand appears to have washed out from previous reports. A lot more large logs in the watercourse compared to previously - one creates a new climb over/under obstacle.

4 out of 5
Date of Trip: August 7, 2016

Water lightly flowing out of Das Boot so there is water the entire length. A lot of sand in the canyon. Only the last rappel was necessary. The two Subway sections were not as impacted by sand as I've seen on previous trips. The waterfall room is one exception where there is significant sand.

2 out of 5
Date of Trip: August 6, 2016

The Subway is jam-packed with sand right now, hiding many of the best features of the canyon. The potholes and waterfall room in The Subway proper are nearly full to the brim with sand. The rap at keyhole falls is currently a 5 foot downclimb. We climbed OVER the bowling ball chokestone after the falls (could almost step over it).

It is much more scenic and fun with much less sand, thus the '2' rating.

5 out of 5
Date of Trip: July 26, 2016

After 20 yrs of hiking and canyoneering Zion I finally applied for and obtained a permit. I had a hard time believing Subway could live up to all the hype. But it came through with stunning beauty, broad flat wet slick rock walking sections, an underwater arch, and an amazing waterfall hidden back behind the last rap in a small enclosed cave.

We did encounter a large rattle snake on the hike in - keep your eyes open!!

Regarding the condition- anchors good, log still jammed in slot, it must be drier than normal but we thought it had plenty of water fun.

5 out of 5
Date of Trip: May 21, 2016

Took a group of 3, with 2 newbies, through the Subway in 8 hours. We stopped for 45 minutes before the 1st rap and took another 45 minute break at the main Subway section, plus 3-4 more shorter breaks.

All anchors are in good condition. Chockstone is still a climb over and jump in. The handline is still there but not recommended -- it would be hard to lower yourself safely.

Water was chilly (we'd guess high 50's) but we were fine on a 68° partly cloudy day in 3mm full wetsuits. One person wore a farmer john's and was quite cold in the swims. It was a windy day so we brought hard shells as well.

We left the Wildcat Canyon trailhead at noon and made it to the Left Fork trailhead at 7:45pm. It was a Saturday and we didn't see another soul the entire time! A rare luxury and an amazing experience. Turnoff to the exit trail is well marked with cairns as you approach the sign -- hard to miss.