Poverty Wash

Bottom of Poverty Wash

Bottom of Poverty Wash

Poverty Wash is a tributary of the East Fork of the Virgin River just east of Zion National Park. The lower end includes a scenic section of narrows and is strongly suggested as a diversion for anybody hiking The Barracks. It only takes 30-45 minutes roundtrip to hike up through the narrows to a dryfall/grotto and then return to the river. It is possible to bypass the narrows/obstacle and then hike up to the dry upper portion of the wash, but this guide only focuses on the lower portion.

Poverty Wash meets the Virgin River just above the Rock Obstacle in the Barracks. At the confluence there is likely to be just a trickle of water coming in from Poverty Wash and no real hint of the scenic canyon upstream.

After about 5 minutes of walking up the canyon one enters a nice portion where the streams flows over slickrock and forms a few small small pools.


Here it looks as if the narrows may begin to form, but instead just as soon as the walls begin to constrict, the canyon opens back up a bit instead.

Then, after another 5-10 minutes of walking, the canyon begins to narrow again and then abruptly transforms into a slot.

Canyon constriction ahead

canyon constriction ahead

The slot is really scenic, though it doesn’t last very long. If the daylight is right, the colors are amazing as the sun bounces off the canyon’s upper red walls.

Poverty Wash Narrows

Poverty Wash Narrows

darkest narrows

darkest section of narrows

Once one passes through the darkest part of the narrows, he/she emerges into a small grotto. This is the end of the road where a small waterfall blocks further passage directly up the canyon.

Poverty Wash Grotto

Poverty Wash Grotto

Turn around and retrace your steps back down to the Virgin River.


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  1. Holy hell! That picture of Poverty Wash Narrows is awesome! Did you just happen to be there at that moment, or did you wait around for that?

    • Thanks! Nope, no waiting for me, I was just lucky to be there at the right time for that section of canyon (mid-afternoon.) But, there’s not much direct sunlight in there so I bet it glows most of the day.