Spring in Zion is notorious for surprising visitors. Those coming from parts of the country still mired in the depths of winter's hold may be surprised to find the weather has followed them. In my five years of winter exploration in the area, I've had the fortune of experiencing nearly every type of weather possible. From 60s and sunny, to road closures and flooded canyons. This year though seems to be on track for the latter, meaning that many visitors may find themselves puzzled with what they can do when ZIon's most popular destinations, including The Narrows, are inaccessible. Thankfully, Zion Adventure Company has 22 winters under their belt, and with that, all the information you need for a fun, safe, and successful visit.
Anticipating and Understanding Narrows Closures
The Narrows is one of the largest slot canyons in the world and the premier hiking destination in Zion's main canyon. Every year, tens, if not hundreds of thousands of visitors make the trek up the 1 mile Riverside Walk to the gateway of the Narrows, where they choose to enter the Virgin River and begin their Narrows experience.
Seasonal precipitation can have a dramatic effect on the state of Zion Canyon, especially the Virgin River. While the Virgin River typically flows between 30-40 cubic feet per second (cfs) during the Summer season, seasonal run off between the months of March through May can see that flow increase ten fold, leading to both treacherous and unsafe conditions. The National Park Service will close The Narrows when the flow exceeds 150cfs, meaning hikers will not be able to access the hike at this time. This can be a disappointing surprise for visitors, many of whom have planned their entire visit around this experience.
2019 Estimated Spring Conditions
Snow pack in the higher elevations north of the park have historically been the best indicator of the severity of an anticipated Narrows closure. Last year was an outlier and saw very little snow in the area, but if we look back at the winter of 2017, which inevitably lead to a Narrows closure from March 12th through May 27th, we saw a significantly smaller snow pack than what currently exists, meaning it's likely to expect The Narrows to be closed until mid June or later, depending on continued weather developments.
What Else Is There To Do?!
This is the big question. A Narrows closure is a bummer, we know, but there's still so much to do here! If you've made it this far into our site, you've likely discovered the photos and descriptions of many of the amazing adventures we offer in and around Zion National Park. Canyoneering, mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking; the list goes on and on.
Zion Adventure Company began in 1996 with the idea that we could share this amazing place we call home with visitors from around the world, by fostering relationships with anyone who came through our door and presenting them with opportunities to intimately explore the truly remarkable landscape that is Zion. Below are some of our favorite adventures that we share with our visitors and work as great alternatives if other destinations are unavailable. Take a look!
This blog is a collective forum of ideas, experiences, lessons, and stories; shared with you by the creative staff of ZAC.
March - October, 8am-8pm
December - February 9am-5pm
*Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas