Heavy snowfall means some scenic drives, campgrounds will not open for Memorial Day

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KAMAS — Several scenic drives and some campgrounds will not be open in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Mirror Lake Highway, Alpine Loop, Guardsman Pass, and Monte Cristo Scenic Drive are still covered in snow in some spots. Highway and forest officials said this was the most snow they could remember since 2011.

“We still have a ton of snow up high. Above 9,000 feet, there’s probably more than four feet of snow still on the ground as of yesterday,” said Matthew Lane of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.

Lane said some campgrounds in the lower elevations of the Uinta Mountains will likely be open by Memorial Day, but others in the upper elevations may not open until mid-July. The upper elevation campgrounds typically open around July 1. After the snow finally melts away, it still takes a lot of work to get the campgrounds ready for visitors.

“We have trees that fall every single year. We have trees that die every single year. Going in there, cleaning up the campgrounds, turning on water systems, getting the bathrooms cleaned. Really getting ready for the public to come and use it,” Lane said.

Utah Department of Transportation spokesperson John Gleason said there has been some melting in the last week, but there is still a lot of snow in mountain passes. He said East Canyon would be open for Memorial Day.

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office released the following information about canyon and trail closures in their area:

  • American Fork Canyon – Above Tibble Fork Reservoir: Still closed due to snow and muddy conditions.
  • American Fork/Provo Canyon – Alpine Loop Road (state Route 92): Still closed due to snow and not likely to be open by Memorial Day weekend.
  • Hobble Creek Canyon – Left Fork: Closed above private land, but below is snow packed with muddy conditions.
  • Hobble Creek Canyon – Right Fork and Diamond Fork: Open over the top and to Springville Crossing/Diamond Fork/Sheep Creek.
  • Payson Canyon – Nebo Loop Road: Open to Maple Lake. Nebo Loop closed from Maple Lake to Salt Creek Junction due to snowpack.
  • Santaquin Canyon: Due to the depth and volume of the recent avalanche this road remains closed until snow melts, debris is removed, and repairs can be made.
  • Grotto trail: The Grotto Falls Trail and trail-head in Payson Canyon are temporarily closed for public safety. The fired that burned through this area during fall 2018 damaged a bridge and retaining wall. Forest Service crews will need to wait until the high-water flows have diminished before repairs can be completed.
  • American Fork Canyon waterline replacement project on state Route 92: This is an ongoing improvement project that is not expected to be complete until mid to late June. Expect heavy delays and congestion for the Memorial Day weekend. Visitors are strongly encouraged to consider recreation destinations outside of American Fork Canyon.

Where trails have opened, officials reminded visitors to use caution as snowmelt is causing rivers and streams to fill with cold, rushing water.

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Sean Moody


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