Zion National Park Battered By Monsoonal Rains

Monsoonal rains are taking a toll on Zion National Park, where not only roads are being covered and blocked by debris washed down mountainsides but trails are being torn apart.

While Riverside Walk has reopened after a potent storm Wednesday, July 11, 2018 brought flooding, mudslides, and rockfalls to the park, cleanup won’t be easy. As of midday Friday, July 13 the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway and several trails, including Angels Landing, Kayenta, Upper Emerald Pools, and West Rim from the Grotto to Cabin Spring, were all closed. And heavy rains were in the afternoon forecast.

Sand, debris, and small rockfalls were the issue on Riverside Walk. In one area, the sand was 3 feet deep covering the trail. Trail crews worked all day Wednesday and Thursday morning on clearing the trail. In the meantime, the Zion Shuttle turned around at Big Bend, and there was no access to The Narrows from the Temple of Sinewava. Now that Riverside Walk is clear, shuttles have resumed their full route.

Mud and debris on the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway was 3-4 feet deep in several areas, overwhelming the road drainage culverts and making the road impassable. Dozens of vehicles were initially stranded in the 1.1-mile tunnel, and some were stuck in the mud flow. Roads crews were able to plow a path to the vehicles to get them out late Wednesday night. Crews made much progress Thursday and were hoping to finish clearing the rest of the road and the culverts by late afternoon Friday.

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