Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for July 13, 2018
ZION UPDATE - Riverside Walk re-opens following storm
Riverside Walk was re-opened Friday after an intense storm on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, caused flooding, mudslides and rock falls. The Zion-Mount Carmel Highway and several trails, including Angels Landing, Kayenta, Upper Emerald Pools, and West Rim from the Grotto to Cabin Spring, remain closed.
Sand, debris and small rock falls were the issue on Riverside Walk. In one area, the sand was three 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 three to four 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 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 are hoping to finish clearing the rest of the road and the culverts by late afternoon Friday.
There is major damage on the West Rim Trail, in the area of Refrigerator Canyon. A section of retaining wall failed, causing an 18 foot gap in the trail that is over five feet deep. The West Rim between Cabin Spring (near campsite #1) and the Grotto is closed. This includes Zion’s popular Angels Landing Trail. Visitors are encouraged to use Observation Point Trail or Hidden Canyon Trail as alternatives. The West Rim campsites are open and accessible from Lava Point.
Much of the Emerald Pools Trail complex is also closed due to major damage. Just past the alcove at the end of Lower Emerald Pools Trail, a 20 foot by10 foot boulder that was supporting part of the trail fell, leaving a deep void in the trail. Two large retaining walls also failed. On the Kayenta Trail, numerous large boulders completely crushed approximately 50 feet of trail. The Kayenta Trail, Upper Emerald Pools Trail and a small section of Lower Emerald Pools Trail will remain closed until repairs can be made. The Lower Emerald Pools waterfall is still visible from the Lower Emerald Pools Trail, but visitors can no longer walk behind it. Watchman Trail, Weeping Rock, and Riverside Walk are suggested alternatives.
Further engineering assessments will need to be done on the remaining damaged areas before any other estimated trail re-openings can be provided. “Where the trails are extensively damaged we are looking for safe, temporary pathways to hopefully reopen them soon, but some may not have re-route options given the terrain,” said Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh.
Shuttles are running normally, except shuttles will not be dropping off visitors at the Grotto Shuttle Stop. The Watchman, South and Lava Point Campgrounds and the Zion Lodge are fully open.