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Contact: Aly Baltrus
SPRINGDALE, UT – The Zion- Mount Carmel Highway, the State Route 9 connector road through Zion National Park, was closed the evening of March 2, 2019, after heavy rains undercut a section of the road. The portion of the road from the East Entrance to the Zion- Mount Carmel Tunnel will reopen at 9:00 a.m. Friday, March 8, 2019 to limited hours and non- oversized vehicles. The Zion- Mount Carmel Highway will still be closed from the Zion- Mount Carmel Tunnel to Canyon Junction. No thru traffic will be allowed until temporary repairs are in place.
The east side of the park will be open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. Traffic will be turned around prior to the Zion- Mount Carmel Tunnel. Vehicles sized 7’10’’ in width or 11’4’’ in height, or larger, will not be allowed on the east side due to limited-radius turning areas.
Visitors may access the East Rim Trail and the Canyon Overlook Trail from the re-opened section of road. East side canyoneering routes- Keyhole, Canyon Overlook, Pine Creek, Spry, Clear Creek, Fat Man’s Misery, and Lodge Canyons will remain closed until more reliable road access is ensured that can safely support canyoneering activities.
The park is currently working with Federal Highways on repairs for the section of road that was affected by the storm. A timeline will not be available until the engineering assessment and repair design have been finalized.
Alternate east and west driving routes are available via Highway 59 from Hurricane, Utah to Fredonia, Arizona and Highway 14 from Cedar City, Utah to Long Valley Junction and Highway 89. People coming from Interstate 15 to the Park may access the Park as usual by traveling east on State Route 9 through Springdale. All Park facilities including the visitor center, museum, campgrounds, and shuttle buses are open and operating as normal in Zion Canyon. The Kolob Canyons Scenic Drive, the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center and Kolob Terrace Road are also open.
Intense or extensive precipitation can result in geologic instability with the steep slopes and highly erosive soils found in the park. Visitors to the Zion Canyon should expect trail closures from landslides from past storms. The Kayenta Trail and Upper Emerald Pools Trail remain closed due to a landslide that has continued to settle since July, 2018. The East Rim Trail, as well as total access to Hidden Canyon and access from Zion Canyon to Observation Point, remain closed due to a landslide with unstable overhanging boulders which occurred January, 2019. More precipitation is expected Friday, March 8, 2019.
This year (October 1, 2018- March 6, 2019), Zion Canyon has received 13.45 inches of precipitation. In comparison, during the same time period one year ago, the same area received 2.9 inches of precipitation.