SPRINGDALE, Washington County — Multiple trails at Zion National Park, including the popular Angels Landing, Upper Emerald Pools and Kayenta trails, are closed indefinitely because of rockfalls after several flash floods, park officials said Tuesday.
"We got a lot of trail damage on three different trails," said Aly Baltrus, Zion National Park's chief of interpretation and visitor services.
The closures also include the West Rim trail from the Grotto up to Cabin Spring and a portion of the Lower Emerald Pool trail.
"The damage is really extensive," Baltrus said.
She said flash floods destroyed a 20-foot retaining wall at Refrigerator Canyon on the West Rim trail, leaving a 20-foot hole about 5 feet deep in the trail. In addition, the Kayenta trail has a 50-foot stretch covered in boulders and Lower Emerald Pools has an 18-foot gap in the trail because of the flash floods.
The trails will remain closed until crews can assess damage from the rockfalls and flash floods, Baltrus said.
"We're hoping there might be a short-term walkaround, especially for Kayenta, possibly for Refrigerator Canyon, but they are pretty significantly damaged," she added.
In addition to the closures, park officials advised hikers to avoid any narrow canyons in the park when there is a chance for a flash flood. Four flash flood warnings have been issued at the park over the past five days, officials wrote in a Facebook post.
The National Weather Service currently projects the possibility for more flash floods Tuesday and Wednesday at Zion National Park.
“Your safety is your responsibility. Much like walking on a cliff with high winds or going above treeline with a stormy forecast, hiking in a narrow canyon with a chance of rain is a significant risk,” park officials wrote in the Facebook post. “If you plan a hike such as the Narrows from July-Sept., have a backup plan. There are many trails and locations in Zion which are better options during flood risks.”
The recent flash floods have also increased the Virgin River from 7 feet to 16 feet in Springdale, Zion National Park officials added.
All roads in the area were open Tuesday. Flooding closed some of the highway roads last week.
Contributing: Marc Weaver, KSL TV