Zion National Park reported Tuesday (March 1) that all of the campsites located in Zion Narrows are closed until further notice.
Twelve designated backcountry campsites were created in the Narrows in the early 1990s in an effort to concentrate visitor impacts at specific locations and create a more enjoyable trip for visitors.
In late December 2010, heavy rains caused extensive flooding on the North Fork of the Virgin River, including the Narrows. The flow rate for the river was measured at 6,000 cubic feet per second, the highest recorded rate since the campsites were created.
The Zion Narrows is closed to hikers each spring due to high water from snow melt. In an average year, the period of high water ends around the beginning of June.
The closed campsites will be evaluated for winter flooding damage as soon as water levels allow rangers to visit the area. Many of the campsites should be opened quickly, but some may have to be rehabilitated or relocated and may remain closed for several months.
Note: All overnight trips in the Narrows require a backcountry permit. In an average year, reservations for such trips are available two to three months ahead of time through the park website.
In 2011, reservations will not be available until an evaluation of the campsites is complete.
Zion Canyon is closed to private motor vehicles, but there is adequate parking at the visitor center near the entrance and free shuttle busses to take you into the canyon. Free busses also depart from various locations in downtown Springdale to take you to the visitor’s center. From the visitor center the free shuttle busses depart every few minutes for the scenic loop tour through Zion Canyon. They stop at ten locations throughout the canyon to allow easy access to the various scenic vistas and hiking trails. During the summer, the busses operate from 5:45 a.m. until 11:00 p.m.
As with most national parks, the busy season is during the summer months of June, July, and August. To avoid the crowds, it is recommended that you plan your trip for late spring or early fall. Although the park is open during the winter months, cold weather, and snowfall limits the type of winter activity available.
Zion National Park
Operating Hours: Open year-round, 24 hours a day
Admission: $25/vehicle (good for 7 days); all federal lands passes accepted
Large RV tunnel escort fee: $15 in addition to entrance fee
Pets: Not allowed on any hiking trails or anywhere in the backcountry
Location: Just east of Springdale on Highway 9
Reservations for campsites at Watchman Campground for camping from March 5, 2011 through November 13, 2011 may be made six months prior to your arrival date online at www.recreation.gov.
Address: Springdale, Utah 84767
Contact: (435) 772-3256
Did You Know?
When dedicated on July 4, 1930, the 1.1 mile Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel was the longest tunnel in the United States.
There is an eloquence to their forms which stirs the imagination with a singular power and kindles in the mind . . . a glowing response.
—Geologist Clarence E. Dutton, reflecting on his impressions of Zion, 1880