Category Archives: Road Conditions

Just Another Thousand-Ton Rockfall in Zion

The Park Service posted this image Saturday of the ZNP road crew cleaning up a giant rockfall just east of Canyon Junction. Thankfully, this kind of stuff typically occurs overnight, when the roads are empty. Nightly rockfall is typically small – watermelon and wheelbarrow-sized boulders – but sometimes, as above, a significant piece of sandstone crashes down, smashing to thousands of bits and blocking the road for quite a while. When you realize just how much rock and rubble falls onto Zion’s roads, it’s sort of amazing to realize there has never been a catastrophic, car-crushing accident via rockfall (at least to my knowledge). Still, I have heard plenty of stories of rocks hurting people. Rockfall has injured and killed climbers in the Park (though that’s a little different, as climbing itself often causes the rockfall). I recall a story from a hiker returning from The Narrows, who had a cantaloupe-sized rock fall from high above and barely graze his shoulder before hitting the river. He was okay, but clearly shaken to consider how close he came to death. Not that I want to scare anybody. But truly, rockfall IS scary, and given that it happens all the time here in Zion, … Continue reading

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Access West Rim Trailhead Via Wildcat Canyon While Snow Melts

It may be dry and balmy in Springdale, but there is still a lot fo snow in the highcountry above Zion. While the big snow pack works on melting away, hikers planning routes starting at the West Rim Trailhead may be better off starting at Wildcat Canyon, rather than tromping a couple miles through 6″ of snow. While a Wildcat start adds four miles to the West Rim, it’s a beautiful and mild way to begin a stunning hike. Below are two separate updates from ZAC shuttle drivers, Steve Woodford and Bill Westerhoff, who drove shuttles up to the Lava Point turnoff yesterday (5/11): I dropped a couple off at Wildcat this morning then took a German hiker up to the turnoff to Lava Point. There is fresh snow(maybe 6″). The dirt road is impassable to drive with a Sprinter. I also gave the hiker trail info and pointed out the knee deep lake inundating the road about 300 yards down.I gave him the option of returning to Wildcat and informed him that Wildcat would be an extra 4 miles more than if I dropped him off at the asphalt edge at Lava Point. He was happy with this option and … Continue reading

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Zion – Mount Carmel Highway Reopens After Flood Repairs

Here’s a morning update from the Park Service. In addition to the through-road opening on the East Side, the report mentions hiking conditions for several trails. Check it out. Zion-Mount Carmel Highway in Zion National Park Reopens Date: December 24, 2010 Contact: Ron Terry, 435-772-0160 The section of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway in Zion National Park damaged in the recent storm has been repaired and reopened. The highway was closed from Canyon Junction in Zion Canyon to the park’s East Entrance on December 20, after a storm event undercut a section of the road near Crazy Quilt Mesa and threatened to washout other sections of the road. During the storm, the park’s road crew worked to prevented additional damage to the road and a contractor began work to repair the damaged section. The road crew was successful in preventing additional damage and the contractor has completed the repairs and the road has been reopened to normal visitor traffic. The West Rim Trail from The Grotto to Scout Lookout has been checked and opened but hikers are advised to be aware of icy and slick areas. The East Rim Trail is clear to Echo Canyon. Due to a significant flow of … Continue reading

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Zion Reopens After 3-Day Closure

Zion National Park press release from yesterday. If you are in the Park or coming soon, check out this release and/or stop in at the Visitor’s Center to ascertain which trails are open and which aren’t quite open yet. The largest inconvenience for most visitors will be the road closure on the East Side, preventing thru-access to Mount Carmel and State Route 89. Zion National Park News Release December 23, 2010 For Immediate Release Ron Terry 435 772-0160 10-66 Zion Canyon Reopens The Zion Canyon section of Zion National Park reopened to the public on Thursday morning. Some trails remain closed until a damage assessment and necessary repairs can be completed. The National Park Service has completed an assessment of roads and facilities following the recent storm. The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive has been reopened with a short section of one lane traffic south of the Court of the Patriarchs. Watchman Campground has been reopened and the Zion Lodge will be reopening at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 23. The Pa’rus Trail along the Virgin River is open. Upper Emerald Pools is accessible only via the Kayenta Trail from the Grotto. Lower and Middle Emerald Pools trails are closed due … Continue reading

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Update on Flooding in Zion and Springdale

The sense of impending doom has eased quite a bit since yesterday morning, as river levels have come down quite a bit and the Trees Ranch Dam has evidently been holding strong. Folks have been bringing staged sandbags back to the supply station, and the atmosphere is definitely more relaxed. We are feeling pretty lucky to be near the top of the Virgin River watershed, as some folks downstream in Rockville, Virgin, St. George, Toquerville, Beaver Dam, Enterprise, etc. are having a much rougher go of it. After peaking around 5,300 cfs yesterday, the Springdale river gauge fell consistently overnight to under 1,000 at midday, today. It has been raining lightly today and the river is shooting back up at the moment, but the forecast is for a peak around 4,000 cfs, much better than yesterday’s 5,300 cfs. Zion National Park continues to be closed, though the Visitor’s Center was open this afternoon to provide information, answer visitor questions, etc. Expecting another river surge this afternoon, the Park expects will be closed at least through today, possibly into tomorrow. The Park hopes to open to road traffic tomorrow, but staff will need to survey road infrastructures to ensure everything is … Continue reading

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Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway Closes Early Oct. 6 to Let Paint Dry

There MUST be a good punch line somewhere here… but I can’t think of it. Anyhow, heads-up on the 4:00 p.m. road closure on Wednesday, October 6th to allow the median lines to dry. There will be a handful of folks caught by surprise, unable to make the quick jaunt up to Bryce of the Grand Canyon they had planned so carefully… don’t be one of them! When the road crew lays down the paint, you know the construction must be approaching the finish line. Big thanks to all the folks on the road construction crew for spending long hours out on the east side this summer to make our roads more safe and comfortable to drive on! Zion National Park News Release September 29, 2010 For Immediate Release Erik De Groat 435-772-0180 Earlier Road Closure in Zion National Park on October 6 Superintendent Jock Whitworth has announced that the section of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway within Zion National Park will close at 4 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 6, 2010. The earlier closure is necessary to allow road painting during daylight hours. The painting is installing a center line on the newly paved roadway on the … Continue reading

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