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Contact: Eleanor Siebers, 435-772-0184
SPRINGDALE, UT – Thousands of Zion National Park visitors are expected over the Presidents’ Day Weekend beginning February 15, 2019. In 2018, the park hosted more than 25,000 visitors, an 18 percent increase over the 2017 holiday weekend.
Even if visitation numbers are similar, the park will feel more congested this year due to the number of trails currently closed in Zion Canyon. Upper Emerald Pools and the Kayenta Trail are closed due to damage from summer monsoon rains. A recent rock fall on the Lower East Rim Trail has closed access to both Hidden Canyon and Observation Point trails from the canyon floor. Observation Point is still accessible from the East Mesa Trail if you have a high clearance vehicle to reach the trailhead and are equipped to hike in deep snow.
Riverside Walk, Weeping Rock, and the Lower Emerald Pools trails often close during the winter season due to the danger of falling ice when mid-day temperatures begin to thaw hanging icicles. The East Rim trail from the East Entrance of the park remains open if visitors are prepared for snow and/or muddy conditions. Sand Bench, Watchman, Coalpits, and Chinle trails are typically good winter hiking options.
To facilitate visitor access, Zion National Park will resume weekend only, mandatory shuttle service on Saturday, February 16. Park shuttle buses will depart the Zion Canyon Visitor Center at 7:00 am heading up-canyon to designated trail head stops with the last bus of the evening returning from the Temple of Sinawava (Stop 9) at 6:40 pm back to the Visitor Center. This same schedule will operate on Sunday, February 17, and then again on the weekends of February 23 and 24 and March 2 and 3. The in-town, Springdale shuttle services will not operate during these weekend dates. Full season daily shuttle services in the Park and in the Town of Springdale will begin March 9, 2019 and run through late fall.
For the holiday weekend, the Zion Canyon Visitor Center will be open daily from 8 am until 5 pm. The Wilderness permits desk will be open from 8 am until 11 am and again from 3 pm until 5 pm. The park film will be shown at the Human History Museum, which will be open Saturday and Sunday only from 10 am until 4 pm. Newly re-opened, the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center will be open daily from 8 am until 4:30 pm.
“Visitors should come prepared,” said Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh. “Not only for crowded conditions, but for the hikes and other activities they are planning under winter conditions. And remember that safety is your responsibility, so please avoid unsafe behaviors and risk-taking. With many people visiting, by showing patience with others and respectful trail etiquette, everyone can enjoy the beauty of the park.”