Safety

Ranger assisting motorist with broken down vehicle
You never know when a breakdown will happen to you. Here at Parashant, unless you have a satellite phone or messenger, hopefully you told someone back home where you were going and you have supplies to last a few days. Some roads here only get a few motorists on them each week so don't count on another person 'coming by' to help you. (NPS - J. Axel)
 
car stuck in mud and water on dirt road
A motorist made a bad decision here one cold February day. Covered in mud trying to free his car, we can only imagine his fear as hypothermia set in. He lacked food, water, and warm clothing. No one knew where to search. It took 3 days to find him down this remote road. Cars don't belong here.

Saint George Police/Saint George News.

Parashant is a scenic wonder but it also is one of the last truly remote places in the United States. A visit here means leaving the safety net of the modern world behind. Appropriate equipment in good working order and adequate supplies are critical to having a safer experience. Roads are narrow and winding. Travelers need to be prepared for their trip and understand the guidance below. All roads are unpaved and of varying difficulty.

While not prohibited, cars, minivans, crossovers, and RVs are not recommended in the monument. Most rescues involve a single vehicle getting 2 to 3 flats because rocks ripped up thin city tires not designed for off-pavement use, vehicles getting stuck in mud or high-centered on uneven road beds, or vehicles suffering some kind of mechanical breakdown.
 
Visitor using a satellite phone
(NPS) Only satellite phones and satellite messenger devices work here. There is no cell service available.
Driving Safety
  • USE ROADS AT YOUR OWN RISK. Roads into the Arizona Strip are all unpaved and lead to ISOLATION. They do not lead to pavement, visitor centers, cell phone service, hotels, stores, or gas stations. Depending on the time of the year and the roads you are on, you may not see another vehicle the entire time you are out there.
  • While VERY RARE, PEOPLE HAVE DIED HERE because they didn't fully appreciate the risks, traveled in a vehicle not equipped for the conditions on a remote seldom traveled road, or didn't let anyone know where they were going. They lacked a satellite communication device to call for help and didn't pack enough equipment, warm clothing, food, or water.
  • Road Guide: Do not overestimate the capability of your vehicle. Some roads are fine for stock high clearance 4x4 pickups and SUVs. Others are so rough they should only be attempted with a UTV. Tow bills often exceed $2,000. Rangers are happy to provide you advice about a trip plan or to discuss your equipment. Contact Us
  • Always assume the road will get WORSE ahead. If it is rough now, don't assume it will get better ahead.
 
  • DO NOT EXPECT RESCUE. You must be able to self-rescue. Take tools like a shovel to get unstuck. Take provisions that will last you many days if your vehicle breaks down and you have to wait for rescue.
  • Trip Plan: It is strongly recommended that you tell a friend or relative where you are going, when and when you expect to return.
  • Weather: During the summer monsoon season (June - September), it is better to travel in the morning. Storms usually occur after 1pm. In winter, roads above 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) may be impassible due to ice and snow. Due to the sheer size of the region and the number of roads, it is not possible to provide updated travel conditions on the Arizona Strip after rain or snow. Expect all roads to be impassible after wet weather.
  • Expect cattle or fast-moving UTVs on the roads. If a UTV driver flashes a number at you with their fingers, this means there will be that many UTVs coming behind them.
  • Travel with extra water, food, blankets, and any other personal health items you need to last several days. If you experience car trouble, stay with your vehicle. Some roads are seldom traveled.
  • Tires: Be prepared for multiple flat tires. Two spare tires, a flat repair kit, a jack, and a pump are recommended. E-range all-terrain tires are strongly recommended to resist punctures from rocks and metal debris. Mud-terrain tires are not helpful on wet clay as it packs firmly into the spaces between the treads and make even the knobbiest tires slippery and useless. Do not bring a vehicle with thin pavement-only street tires onto the monument or this will happen (see below).
 
Car with flat tire in Hidden Canyon on rough 4x4 road
This is the wrong vehicle and tires for Parashant. This motorist had almost reached one of the roughest 4x4 sections in Hidden Canyon when the tire blew out. Only Jeeps and UTVs are high enough to handle the boulders on this road. Notice the thin pavement-only tires and the worn out tread.

NPS

Other Safety Recommendations:
  • Flash Floods: Storms and flash floods can be powerful and sudden. Avoid canyons and washes during rainstorms and be prepared to move to higher ground. While driving, be alert for water running across dips in the road. Remember: turn around, don't drown.
  • Hiking & Biking: Depending on your body size and the weather, bring one to two gallons (4-8 liters) of water per person, per day. Eat salty snacks during the day so your muscles can function.
  • Winter: Winter driving above 5,000 feet not recommended. Roads at this elevation are saturated and impassible most of the winter. There also are very few people in the area to help you if you break down. Temperatures can drop well below freezing. The short days of winter surprise hikers who have to finish their hike by headlamp.
  • Wildlife: Animals will be dangerous if approached, including cattle. Animals on the Parashant carry diseases such as hantavirus, plague, and rabies. Venomous animals are here too, such as rattlesnakes, scorpions, black widow spiders, Africanized bees, and Gila Monsters (a large lizard).

Last updated: August 13, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

345 East Riverside Drive
St. George, UT 84790

Phone:

(435) 688-3200
Phones are answered Monday - Friday 7:45 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. The center is closed on Sundays as well as all federal holiday with the exceptions of Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Contact Us