Update on Recent Water Damage In and Around ZionJul 13, 2018
Update on Recent Water Damage In and Around Zion
The following is the most recent update (as of the morning of Friday, July 13) on the water damage that Zion National Park and it’s surrounding area experienced as a result of a strong thunderstorm that covered most of Washington Country in Southern Utah the evening of Thursday, July 12, 2018. The information here also includes a list of affected Zion National Park trails and a brief description of their Zion damage and current status.
Following a widespread thunderstorm over Washington County Thursday night, the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway remains closed from the east entrance of Zion National Park to Canyon Junction in Zion Canyon due to Zion damage, according to a social media post from Washington County Emergency Services.
If all goes well, however, the highway could be reopen Friday afternoon.
Prior to Thursday’s storm, Zion National Park received 3 inches of rain over a short period of time Wednesday that resulted in flooding and landslides that occurred on the switchbacks below the tunnel on the east side of the park causing extensive Zion damage.
“Much progress was made in clearing rock, debris, and mud,” Washington County Emergency Services posted online. “There are a few areas that need more extensive work than clearing. We anticipate opening the road tomorrow afternoon, but that depends on the speed of progress tomorrow and if we have any further Zion damage overnight.”
A flash flood warning for Zion National Park and other parts of the county was issued by the National Weather Service shortly after 5 p.m., with the alert staying in effect for Zion National Park until 11:15 p.m.
The current status of trails within Zion National Park
Riverside Walk/The Narrows
Rocks, mud, and debris are mostly cleared. If there is no further Zion damage overnight, officials anticipate park personnel completing work and opening the trail by mid-morning Friday.
Upper Emerald Pools Trail
Currently inaccessible and closed due to extensive trail damage leading to that location.
Lower Emerald Pools Trail
Open only to the alcove near where Upper Emerald Pools trail connects.
Closed due to extensive Zion damage.
West Rim Trail from Grotto Trailhead in Zion Canyon
Where the Angels Landing hike starts. This trail is closed due to extensive Zion damage in Refrigerator Canyon.
West Rim Trail from Lava Point to Cabin Spring
Open, but closed beyond Cabin Spring due to wildfire ignition.
“Where trails are extensively damaged we are looking for safe, temporary pathways to hopefully reopen them soon, but some may not have workaround options given the terrain,” according to Washington County Emergency Services.
Officials expect that full shuttle routes and stops will be operational. However, trails leaving from Grotto trailhead are not open (West Rim/Angels Landing and Kayenta). Because of that, the shuttle will not be dropping visitors off at the Grotto shuttle stop.
There are also three small wildfires burning within the park that were sparked by lightning from recent storms, adding to the Zion damage.
“We hope to contain and suppress those with assistance from rainfall/high humidity/elevated fuel moisture,” according to Washington County Emergency Services.
The heavier rains died down by around 7:30 p.m. with subsequent reports of Zion damage including flooding or threats of flooding in Dammeron Valley and parts of Hurricane.
Flooding also blocked off a segment of state Route 18 for a short while at milepost 16.
Stay tuned for any further updates on Zion damage and trail availability as information becomes available. Continue to make ZionNationalPark.com your source for all information pertaining to the park and it’s surrounding area.