Tag Archives: cfs

Big Rains Yesterday Cool Things Down, Flood the Narrows

It has been incredibly hot in Zion this summer. We have been flirting with and/or breaking heat records all summer and into fall, and everyone seems to be ready for a respite. Yesterday, Zion had its first long, drenching, all-day rain of the fall, signaling fall is finally here. While most locals welcome the rain, many eager Narrows hikers will be forced to change plans today, as the Virgin River volume spiked dramatically overnight. The United States Geological Service, or USGS, has a number of monitoring stations along the Virgin, which anyone can view on their website. Here’s the visual representation of how yesterday’s rain affected the water volume in the Narrows: Zion National Park closes The Narrows to bottom-up hiking whenever the Virgin River rises above 140 cubic feet per second (cfs). The Park opens The Narrows back up only after the volume has fallen below 140 cfs for 24 hours. If you ever want to know where the Virgin River’s volume is, feel free to check at the USGS site, or stop into Zion Adventure Company, where we not only have the information on hand, but we can help you interpret it and give our best guess about … Continue reading

Posted in Canyoneering, Hiking, Safety, The Narrows, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

Big Water Canyoneering in Kolob Creek

Kolob Creek is one of Zion’s most prized descents, a remote canyon falling off the high plateau near Lava Point. Unlike most of Zion’s technical canyons, Kolob Creek flows year-round, fed by the dammed waters behind Kolob Reservoir. This has a nice side and a nasty one. Nice side: the beauty, music, and magic of a flowing canyon is simply wonderful. Nasty side: it is easy to get in over your head (figuratively and literally) in a flowing canyon, as the hydraulic power of flowing water can be tremendous, deadly, and difficult to predict. Due to its high elevation, the descent season for Kolob Creek is relatively small. 5 cfs is the general MAXIMUM recommend CFS for a Kolob descent; finding a time when the flow volume is under this benchmark can be trying. Though snow melt varies tremendously year-to-year, the water volume is usually too high for a safe Kolob descent until at least June. This year, the flow is still dangerous at the beginning of August, an example of how variable snow melt can be. In addition, during dry years, the water district executes regular reservoir releases into Kolob Creek, typically a week at a time. So even … Continue reading

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