Category Archives: Zion National Park

Goings-on in Zion National Park

Virgin River Flash Flood Video

Mike and Seth caught some revealing footage of the Virgin River in scary flash flood mode as it carried a huge cottonwood tree down-river like an insignificant Poohstick. See how dark the water is? The color comes from the high load of silt, mud, and rock the river picks up in a flood event. 95% of the erosion in Zion happens in punctuated events like this, where sudden, heavy rains create high-volume, high-velocity river conditions that pick up tons and tons of sediment and move it downstream. Once the momentum gets going, all that debris can scour banks and displace large areas of sediment, replacing ankle-deep shallows with deep pools, and vice-versa. It’s super fun to explore the river after a flood event like this and try to find the best “new” swimming holes the flood has created. The guys filmed this footagee just above the Springdale River Park, where we pick up tubers at the end of their runs. Seems like tubing would be a little extreme with that amount of water and debris in the river, don’t you think? If you want to see a flash flood, I highly recommend a viewing it from a safe place like this, … Continue reading

Posted in Natural History, Safety, Seasonal, Springdale, Summer, The Narrows, Tubing, Weather & Climate, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Landslide Closes Hidden Canyon Trail

A teenager recently asked me, “Do big rocks fall ever fall down here?” Looking around most anyplace in Zion, and you can see that MANY big rocks have fallen from the canyon walls over time. Because we seldom see rockfall, however, it’s easy to forget where all the boulders on the ground came from. When the Hidden Canyon slide happened last week, it was a great reminder that geology happens all the time… even on actively used trails, in the middle of the day. Thankfully, nobody was hurt. Thanks to Zion’s rangers for helping the stranded hikers out, and for the inevitable work that will need to be done to restore the Hidden Canyon Trail. Until then… it’s a good thing there are lots of other 5-star trail to hike around here. Here’s the news release from the Park Service: Zion National Park Superintendent Jock Whitworth announced today that the Hidden Canyon Trail is currently closed due to a rockslide that occurred on Wednesday evening, July 25 at 5:30 p.m. The rockslide covered a narrow section of the trail with debris trapping 11 park visitors behind it for approximately three hours. Once the debris movement settled down, park rangers set … Continue reading

Posted in Hiking, In the News, Natural History, Safety, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Spry Canyon Flash Flood Video, July 11, 2012

Flash flood videos can’t do justice to the real thing, but this video from Spry Canyon last Monday (7/11) offers an educative perspective. The narrators’ emotions perhaps say more about the danger than the actual video… these two guys are clearly scared, excited, and riveted by the crashing, dynamic conditions. They literally have no idea what might happen, how high the water might rise, what debris might come crashing down to them. A scary situation. Were these guys in danger? It’s really difficult to say. Obviously, the water came up quite a bit while they were there, and they seem trapped in the alcove they are in by the middle of the video. But they seem to feel safe in their perch, amazed and lucky they weren’t stuck in a worse position in the canyon. As they point out, their next anchor is 1-2 feet under water by mid-video, and even as the waterfall slows toward the end, they point out how the overall depth just keeps rising. The parting shot shows the red webbing anchor filled with debris, hinting at the surge that receded only minutes before. The weather forecast on this date was not obvious: 40% chance of … Continue reading

Posted in Accidents, Canyoneering, Flash Flooding, Outdoor Leadership, Safety, Summer, Trip Reports, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Boundary Canyon Conditions

Went by, but not IN, Boundary Canyon Zion yesterday. No flow. No flow from the spring down to the head of the canyon. Likely dry from there except a few puddles. Drought conditions have returned. If the Kolob Reservoir does an extended period of significant water releases, the spring at the head of Boundary could perk up, but it seems unlikely. Tom

Posted in Canyoneering, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , | Comments Off

Awesome Right Fork Trip Report on CUSA’s “Latest Rave”

After taking a year off in 2011, Tom Jones has reinitiated his popular canyoneering blog The Latest Rave in a beautiful, updated format, making high-quality, illustrated trip reports even more accessible to canyoneers searching for canyon beta, pictures, and stories. The Latest Rave is a “canyoneering diary,” featuring accounts of recent canyon descents and trips throughout the canyoneering world, but primarily focused on Colorado Plateau canyons. Tom has expanded the Rave a bit, inviting long-time canyoneering partner Steve “Ram” Ramras as a regular Raver, as well as publishing well-written and illustrated canyoneering stories from other canyoneer/authors in his Guest Rave section. Fortunately, quite a few Rave trip reports are about Zion canyons, which are, of course, our favorite. Mark Duttweiler published a particularly nice trip report last week on his party’s descent of the Right Fork of North Creek, a less-travelled canyon deep in the Zion Backcountry. Mark and his crew descend the “Hammerhead” variation of the Right Fork route, adding a great, technical start and a number of rappels to the package. The meat of the Right Fork, however, is the Direct Variation, a formidable section of slot that, though relatively short and not particularly difficult, threatens inexperienced canyoneers with shadows … Continue reading

Posted in Canyoneering, Trip Reports, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Free Canon Camera & Video Workshops in Zion

Canon has been running their National Parks promotion for six years now, and they are finally coming to Zion! From June 24th to July 9th, you can borrow a Canon SLR, point-and-shoot, or video camera to shoot gorgeous Zion scenery… AND you can receive free instruction on how to do it. Yes, it’s an unabashed marketing promotion on Canon’s part, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to a) try out top-of-the-line technology for free, and b) get expert advice from Canon photography teachers/mentors. Here’s the meat of the press release from Canon: The Canon Photography in the Parks Program offers participants the opportunity to learn about photography or hone their skills through free professional instruction as they take part in a guided walking photo tour of some of the most scenic national park areas. Participants can bring their own equipment or borrow, at no charge, Canon equipment from a selection of EOS DSLR cameras and EF lenses, PowerShot point-and-shoot cameras, or VIXIA camcorders. Equipment is available for photographers at every skill level. Following the tour, participants have the opportunity to print their work on site, and to download their image collection later from the Program website. Visitors of all ages and … Continue reading

Posted in Guided Events, Local Events, Photography, Techniques, Videos, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Pa’ Rus Trail: Zion’s Most Accessible & Underrated Hike

As I jogged along the Pa’rus Trail this week I thought to myself, “Wow, Pa’rus sure isn’t like Angel’s Landing or Observation Point, but I really like this trail.” Here are my favorite things about the under-rated and under-appreciated Pa’rus Trail: 1. At 3.5 miles round-trip, it is the perfect running distance for anyone who wants to get a quick jog in before they start the day, or maybe just before dinner. 2. Minimal elevation change on this trail (50ft) means that walking, running, or biking here will not need maximal physical exertion, unlike many of Zion’s steep, craggy trails. In fact, the Pa’rus is a great place for a causal sunset or moonlit stroll with a loved one, where conversation is more important than accomplishment. 3. This is the only trail in the park that is puppy and bicycle friendly, so if your little furry friend is getting tired of being cooped up at your campsite, help him get some energy out by walking him on the Pa’rus. 4. The wide paved trail allows for many people to share the trail all at once without any bottle-necking like you might find on top of Angel’s Landing. Great for families … Continue reading

Posted in Hiking, Zion National Park | Tagged | Comments Off

ZAC Guide Bill Westerhoff Featured on “Eye on LA”

ABC’s Los Angeles affiliate Channel 7 recently visited Southern Utah for their “Eye on LA” show. Host Tina Malave joined ZAC guide Bill Westerhoff for a rappelling excursion up in Cave Valley, one of the gorgeous plateau valleys you’ll find on the way up the Kolob Terrace Road. I wasn’t able to post the video here, but you can check it out on the ABC 7 site.  

Posted in Canyoneering, Videos, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

A Different Kind of Zion Visitor

Imagine… You’ve been hiking and running deep in the Zion backcountry for 13 hours, carrying only a few snacks and one water bottle. You’ve summited a handful of peaks, rappelled off small trees poking out of bare rock, and swum in 40-degree pools of stagnant canyons water. Many, many miles and vertical meters have passed. Now it’s 10:30 PM, your headlamp is dead, and you’re squeezing energy from the far reaches of your left pinky toe to keep going. And THEN, you get to one last, mandatory unexpected swim of unknown length. Do you put your wetsuit back on? Do you cry? Do you just lay down and close your eyes? No… you grit your teeth, make it happen, and blog about it when you get home. Because you are hardcore. Which I am not. Nice story, Dakota Jones. Thanks for showing how the crazies get it done in Zion. The honest, inspiring words about digging deeper than you think is possible is worth keeping in mind, no matter who you are or what makes you crumble.

Posted in Books & Articles, Canyoneering, Hiking, Trip Reports, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , | Comments Off

Prepare Yourself for Spring Break Bustle in Zion

Easter Break is ALWAYS an exciting time at Zion Adventure Company, as Training Season transitions to Busy Season and the quiet season official ends. It always feel a little crazy, but it’s also a lot of fun. We love it when Easter falls a little later (anytime in April, really), as it gives us an extra week or two to get new staff up to speed before they jump into the fire. If YOU are visiting this week or next, you can help us make your ZAC visit really smooth by doing a few easy things: 1. Set your watch! If you are coming from Las Vegas or Arizona, Zion (and Utah) is one hour ahead of those time zones. Many visitors are disappointed when they arrive “on time,” only to discover they are actually one hour late. Oops! 2. Note our hours. We are open daily from 8 AM to 8 PM. Sometime folks see people walking in and out before 8 AM: these are guided trip clients, who we try to depart with before things get busy at 8 AM. If you arrive before we open, please wait outside patiently while we get the store in order. Thanks … Continue reading

Posted in Getting Here, Seasonal, Spring, Zion National Park | Comments Off