Zion National Park Warnings and Dangers

  • Warnings and Dangers
    by goodfish
  • Warnings and Dangers
    by goodfish
  • Warnings and Dangers
    by goodfish

Most Recent Warnings and Dangers in Zion National Park

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    Heavy Weather

    by goodfish Written Nov 14, 2014

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    While flash floods and falls are the biggest concerns at Zion, nasty weather can cause a few challenges as well:

    • Even a light rain can make rocky trails very slippery

    • A heavy rain can wash away sections of a trail completely or make them unstable

    • High, exposed places - such as the rim trails - are bad places to be in a lighting storm

    • Dirt-road access to specific trailheads can become an impassable mess of mud in heavy rain, and others - even paved - can wash out completely

    Stuff happens. Most backcountry trekkers know to prepare for these sorts of things but even in the relative safety of Zion Canyon it’s a good idea to get off Angels Landing, Canyon Overlook or Emerald Pools Trail - anything high, exposed or accessed by steep, narrow dirt/rock trail - if you see a storm coming your way.

    But showers are no reason to avoid the canyon completely: when all that moisture cascades over and down the walls, Zion can be an especially beautiful place!

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    Rain+ slot canyons = big trouble

    by goodfish Written Nov 13, 2014

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    I mentioned how important it was to check the forecast in my Narrows page but there’s nothing like a few visual aids?

    During this second trip, the region was hit with a record-books storm that turned the gentle, blue-green Virgin in my Riverside Walk review into the flooded, muddy, log-filled torrent you see here. It rose very, very quickly, and both the NPS and local outfitters had been warning hikers out of the slots and other low, tight places for a full 24 hours before the rain actually arrived. The outfitters flat out refused to even rent equipment used for popular activities in the river.

    While it was a huge wrench in our plans, it’s never a good idea to ignore their advice or a threatening forecast. Several weeks later, on a morning with heavy rain and flash flooding predicted, someone did exactly that, and lost his life in the Narrows.

    Our particular storm caused evacuation of Zion Canyon, closure of the Zion-Mt Carmel highway to mud and rockslides, and washed out some area roads but everyone was OK...and that’s what matters!

    http://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/narrowssafety.htm

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    Zion-Mt Carmel Tunnel Restrictions

    by goodfish Updated Nov 9, 2014

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    While the Zion-Mt Carmel Highway through the east entrance is drop-dead gorgeous, long delays may be experienced due to the 1.1-mile tunnel (built in 1920's) which is not wide enough for more than one large vehicle at a time.

    RVs or vehicles larger than 7'10" wide and/or 11' 4" high must pay an addtional $15 entry fee (good for a return trip) for traffic control needed to allow passage. Rangers on either side of the tunnel will stop traffic while the vehicle passes through the tunnel. A lot of RVs and buses can result in long traffic delays during the busy season.

    Hours for large-vehicle passage are also restricted so for complete details, reference the link below.

    http://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/the-zion-mount-carmel-tunnel.htm

    The tunnel is also closed to pedestrians and bicyclists.

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    • Seniors

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    Loud Campers!

    by blueskyjohn Written Mar 20, 2013

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    Rarely to I encounter issues to the extent on my last visit. Usually a walk over to a loud group in the campground continuing after the 10pm quiet time with a polite request and reminder of the quiet hours does the trick. This last trip I was camping in the group camp ground area and things were out of control until 3am. I searched for a number to call on the internet and in the visitor guide provided by the park. The park guide does have an emergency number of course, 911 but also states 435-772-3322. Well thinking this wasn't a real emergency, I had to put up with it.

    I complained the next morning as the park host drove around at 8am checking in with late arrivals. The park host told me the 435-772-3322 number is the one I should have called.

    The park service should make mention of this in the guide!

    So now you know it is ok to call that number for such occurrences.

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    • Camping
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    Please think..... WATER!

    by blueskyjohn Written Mar 20, 2013

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    This warning is for any long steep hike, exposed to the sun all day. Bring water! I have attached some photos of people attempting Angel's Landing with little more than a 12 ounce bottle of water! One thing to keep in mind, the day I took these photo's it was 80 degrees out!

    I don't know what these people are thinking but not only are they putting themselves in jeopardy, they risk the lives of rescuers and/or pulling rescuers away from possibly a more serious situation.

    The women in the first picture have no daypack, and each holding just a 12 ounce bottle of water. The man and women again, one bottle of water each, no daypack and on top of that no shirt.

    Last and the biggest offender, a man and woman with twin girls about 9-10 years old. Father is carrying only one 12 ounce bottle of water! For his family. Unbelievable!

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    People have died on Angel's Landing

    by mikehanneman Written Jun 20, 2011

    This is a great trail until you get to the final leg of the Angel's Landing trail. My son and I went past Scout Lookout and encountered the cables for a bit. The cables are not placed correctly to ensure your safety. The rock is littered with sand, making it very slippery. Nothing but sheer drop offs. We saw people trying to go up the final accent to Angel's Landing wearing sandals, thongs and no shoes at all.

    My son was 22 years old and I was 50 at the time. Both in decent shape and aware of of suroundings and the danger. My son didn't want to go any further. I too felt it was unsafe. We spoke to two Rangers afterward and they told us about how many people have fallen to their deaths climbing Angel's Landing. It is a National Park and you are responsible for your safety they said.

    I would recommend hiking up as far as you are comfortable. If you have kids with you pay extra attention to them and their safety. I feel there are great views all the way up to Scout Lookout. Enjoy Refrigerator Canyon and get a great workout going up the 21 switchbacks at Walter's Wiggles.

    I just felt I should warn people about the danger at the end of this trail for visitors.

    Angel's Landing On the way up to Angel's Landing Refrigerator Canyon Walter's Wiggles Scott debating whether to go further

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    ANGEL'S LANDING CABLES

    by mtncorg Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    As memorable as the cables on Half Dome, the final 'chokepoint' on the trail up Angel's Landing is along the summit crest. Anchored cable chains provide more stability on the steep vertical ground in this section. Forego this area when conditions are wet. Forego this area if you have a fear of heights.

    Using the chain cables on the Angels Landing trail
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    beware the chains

    by richiecdisc Updated Jun 13, 2009

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    If you are afraid of heights, Angel's Landing might not be for you. The final section of the hike is a chained section over the very spine of the peak. There are 1500 foot steep drop-offs on each side but worse are the people coming down who are getting an even hairier view than you. Them clutching the chains, white-knuckled does little for your own self-confidence. Don't look down and forge straight up. It's worth it!

    the beginning of the chains
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  • HasTowelWillTravel's Profile Photo

    The Virgin River

    by HasTowelWillTravel Written Jan 17, 2009

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    Hiking in Zion Canyon in the Virgin River can be a unique and very rewarding experience. However, hiking in such a canyon can be very treacherous. Please always talk to rangers about the water levels and other dangers before heading to either the short or long versions of the Narrows hike.

    Water levels/floods: The river is fed from streams and creeks hundreds of miles away. Even if the weather is clear the day you want to hike, a rain storm a day before a hundred miles upstream could trigger a flash flood that scrapes the canyon walls, with lots of debris inside. There are portions of the canyon, especially the Narrows section, where there is no high ground and no where to escape a flood. Watch the weather carefully and heed the ranger's recommendations on water levels.

    Rocks: The river is filled with rocks of varying sizes. They are also slippery with mosses and worn smooth with water. Be careful while walking. My hiking partner turned an ankle partway through our trek and limped the whole rest of the way. A staff is a good bet to help keep your balance.

    Do not take these warnings lightly... nearly every year people are injured or killed in the canyon which is very preventable. The year I did the whole hike 3 Californians had been killed just 2 weeks before I arrived. It is not meant to scare you away, but as with anything in Mother Nature, take heed and precautions.

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    Stay Back!

    by agapotravel Written Jun 23, 2008

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    Some of you that don't have a fear of heights may think I am being a bit too cautious. However, I must tell you to please be careful when hiking in Zion. There are some steep drop offs, and a fall from one of these would definitely be harmful, if not fatal. Just use common sense, and you will be fine.

    It's a long way down
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  • The Early Bird ...

    by kcbrit Written Jun 12, 2007

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    Get into the park as soon as possible it gets really crowded by about 10-11am. If you are driving through it you will get ffrustrated if you don't leave early. There are many slow driving lookie loos who won't pull over for other traffic.

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  • GuthrieColin's Profile Photo

    Sharp Plants

    by GuthrieColin Updated Apr 30, 2007

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    When hiking on Zion's many trails you will undoubtedly run across some of its less forgiving plant species. Within the park grows a few notable dangerous ones.
    The first and most obvious is The Prickly Pear Cactus which has pear shaped "leaves" that have up to 1 inch (2.2 cm) long spines that are very sharp. They flower with yellow or purple flowers and can be quite inviting.
    The next plant to watch out for is Poison Ivy. I did not encounter any of this plant variety but it is listed as one of the species that live in the park so it is important to be aware of that fact.
    The last plant which I found to be the most common to run into was the Yucca Plant. It looks similar to a dwarfed palm tree It has long extremely tough leaves with very sharp spines at their ends. The leaves just so happen to be about 4 feet (1.2 m) off the ground in general and very easily poke into you if you are not watching out for them.

    Yucca on Right Prickley Pear on Bottom Left.
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    Be Prudent About Rattlesnakes

    by AKtravelers Written Nov 9, 2006

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    Zion National Park is home of seveal poisonous snake species, including the feared rattlesnake. Any traveler should be careful to avoid being bitten, and especially make sure that you don't put your hands in places you can't see. A rattlesnake bite can be fatal. At the same time, don't let your fear of rattlers inhibit your ability to enjoy Zion. Rattlesnakes are more afraid of you than you are them, and they won't attack unless provoked. They can't out run you and they (usually) aren't smarter than you, so even if you spot one you're not really in danger -- just keep your distance.
    This rattlesnake was safe to approach because his fangs were otherwise engaged and likely empty of vemon. Additionally, no rattler worth his salt would give up this hard-won dinner (yum, squirrel!) for a taste of me!

    A rattler orders take-out
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  • lazyman_1's Profile Photo

    Sheer drop-offs

    by lazyman_1 Written Oct 1, 2006

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    Be Careful!!!

    Some of these hikes are not to be taken lightly. They can be both long and strenuous so a certain level of physical fitness is required. One thing to watch out for is the drop-offs. Those deathly afraid of heights may want to re-consider the Angels landing hike as the top 0.5 mile portion is full of narrow passages and areas of unsure footing. In a lot of spots the park has installed a chain to hold onto while manouvering the more tricky strecths. This was not meant to disuade anybody from doing the hike, just to let them know whats in store. The very top of Angels landing is definately something to strive for

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    Bring Lots of water!

    by lazyman_1 Written Oct 1, 2006

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    It seems obvious but it is worth mentioning. once you're inside the park itself, there aren't many spots to fill or refill your water bottles and believe me, under the hot Utah sun you'll need every drop. The park rangers recommend at least one litre a person. You do not want to find yourself in the middle of a long hike without water as dehydration is a real concern.

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Zion National Park Warnings and Dangers

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