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Zion Canyon Narrows Reopen for Visitor Use

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avatar Zion Canyon Narrows Reopen for Visitor Use
July 13, 2011 04:23PM
Zion Canyon Narrows Reopen for Visitor Use
Date: July 13, 2011
Contact: Ray O'Neil, 435-772-7823
Contact: Backcountry Desk, 435-772-0170

The popular Zion Canyon Narrows (The Narrows) have reopened for visitor use to both day hikers and overnight campers. Due to high water from an above average snowpack this past winter and a prolonged snowmelt, The Narrows have been closed for a longer than normal period this summer. Water levels have now dropped to a level that is considered safe for visitors to navigate The Narrows which is below 120 cubic feet per second water flow.

Park Rangers have been able to evaluate campsites in the The Narrows and determine that two of the twelve sites were affected by the high water flows this past winter and will remain closed. The other ten campsites are now open. Alternate locations for the two affected campsites (numbers one and ten) will be evaluated over the course of the summer.

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. 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.

While The Narrows are now open to hiking, water levels remain high for this time of year. At current levels, children, small adults, and people with pre-existing knee and ankle issues will have difficulty navigating the canyon, especially completing overnight trips. A through hike in one day will be challenging for anyone. In addition, monsoonal weather patterns have been occurring throughout the area causing afternoon thunderstorms which can make the trip prohibitively dangerous. Current weather as well as current river flow rates can be found at: http://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/weather-and-climate.htm

Zion National Park reminds visitors that all overnight trips in The Narrows require a backcountry permit. Reservations for overnight trips are available two to three months ahead of time through the park website at www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/backcountry-reservations-and-permits.htm.
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