SPRINGDALE, Utah, July 2, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Zion National Park is preparing for a busy July 4 weekend just two days after the park’s entrance was heavily damaged during a flash flood.
“Zion National Park anticipates July 2-5 will be an extremely busy weekend as our nation celebrates the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence,” said a news release from the park. “Visitors should expect vehicle and pedestrian congestion and high temperatures. Due to recent flooding, visitors should expect traffic delays and debris on roads as clean-up continues and damage is being assessed. The Watchman Trail is currently closed due to flood damage. The oversized vehicle parking lot will reopen on Friday, July 2.”
Park visitors are reminded to recreate responsibility and plan ahead. This includes knowing the local fire restrictions. Currently, no campfires are allowed in Zion National Park due to extreme fire conditions. Those celebrating the holiday need to be aware that discharging or using any kind of fireworks or other pyrotechnic devices is prohibited at all times on all federal public lands, including Zion National Park.
“Visitors should expect crowded conditions and long lines,” the news release said. “Parking typically fills very early, so visitors entering later should plan on parking in Springdale and walking or taking the free town shuttle to the park’s pedestrian/bike entrance. Once parking is full, vehicle admittance into the park will be metered based upon availability. The Zion Mount Carmel Highway may be closed to through traffic periodically when parking has filled in order to safely relieve congestion both east and west of the large tunnel and to restore traffic flow.” Alternative routes include SR-59, SR-14, and SR-20.
The Zion National Park shuttle system consists of two shuttle routes. Face masks must be worn on the shuttle buses. No tickets are required to ride the shuttles, they are filled on a first come, first served basis. The first route is in the park. It runs from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center up the Scenic Drive to destinations like the Zion Lodge and trailheads, including Emerald Pools, West Rim Trail, and Temple of Sinawava where hikers depart for the Narrows. The second route serves visitors within the town of Springdale.
The town shuttle starts at 8 a.m. The last shuttle back into town picks up park visitors from Zion Canyon Village at the park’s pedestrian/bike entrance at 6 p.m.
The last park shuttle up canyon leaves the Zion Canyon Visitor Center Plaza at 5 p.m. and the last park shuttle down canyon leaves the Temple of Sinawava at 8:15 p.m.
The town of Springdale will be hosting a parade on Saturday, July 3 and traffic will be stopped from 9 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. Visitors should expect traffic delays and congestion.
“The line for Angels Landing that often forms at Scout Lookout will be managed from the West Rim Trailhead at the Grotto, much like it was during Memorial Day weekend,” the news release said. “This effort will reduce crowding on the chains section and provide a better visitor experience on the trail. Those waiting at the Grotto will enjoy more shade, flush restrooms, and water filling stations at the trailhead prior to starting their hike. Lines of several hours are possible, so hikers should be prepared. Hikers who want to hike Kayenta Trail, continue up the West Rim Trail without hiking the chain section to Angels Landing, or only go as far as Scout Lookout will not be required to wait at the Grotto.”
National Park staff have been actively monitoring the presence of harmful cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins in three major tributaries of the Virgin River within the park: North Fork of the Virgin River, North Creek, and La Verkin Creek. North Fork Virgin River is currently at a Warning Advisory based on the most recent monitoring results. During a Warning Advisory, visitors are advised to avoid swimming or submerging their heads in the water. Children are especially vulnerable to cyanotoxins — minimize risk by avoiding primary contact, for example swimming or submerging your head, with all waters in the park. Keep dogs on a leash while in the park and out of the water. Do not drink any in-stream water in the park. Contact the Utah Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222 with concerns about cyanotoxin poisoning and call 911 in the event of a medical emergency.