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Zion-Mount Carmel Highway Reopens in Zion National Park

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avatar Zion- Mount Carmel Highway Temporarily Closed Due to Major Rock Fall
August 11, 2016 03:18PM

NPS Photo

Springdale, UT- A major rock fall has closed the Zion- Mount Carmel Highway, State Route 9, in Zion National Park. Effective immediately, the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, between Canyon Junction and the East Entrance is closed. A significant rock fall occurred on the switchback near the Pine Creek Bridge and is blocking both sides of the road. The park will be working with a hazard geologist from the Utah Geological Survey to remove the rock and assess the road. The road will reopen once it is deemed safe. The Scenic Drive and Zion Canyon remain open. The shuttle is running on a normal schedule.

At just before 1:00 p.m., the National Weather Service (NWS) alerted Zion National Park that a strong thunderstorm was entering Zion, bringing with it intense rain and hail. Shortly after, the NWS issued a flash flood warning and Zion closed all of its slot canyons, including The Narrows. At 2:10 p.m., flooding on the switchbacks below the tunnel and in several other places forced the park to stop traffic at each entrance station and halt the shuttle system in place. By 4:00 p.m., park maintenance had cleared the Scenic Drive and the Mount Carmel Highway from the Scenic Drive to the South Entrance. The switchbacks had not yet been fully cleared of debris from the flash flood when the large boulder came down.

Alternate east and west routes are available via Highway 59 from Hurricane, Utah to Fredonia, Arizona and Highway 14 from Cedar City, Utah to Long Valley Junction and Highway 89. People traveling to the park may access the park by traveling east on State Route 9 from Interstate 15. All park facilities including the visitor center, museum, campgrounds, and shuttle buses are open and operating as normal.

Traffic advisory signs will be placed near Mt. Carmel Junction, near Virgin, Utah, and near the park's South Entrance. Road condition updates will be provided on the park website and social media outlets. The park's short range radio broadcast systems at Mt. Carmel Junction, Hurricane, and both park entrances will also broadcast the status of the closure.
Re: Zion- Mount Carmel Highway Temporarily Closed Due to Major Rock Fall
August 13, 2016 09:32PM
Amazing that they re-opened it so fast. Why does Yosemite stuff always take so long?

A bit off topic ...

I've been wanting to write a thank you note to all of your for the Zion/Bryce lodging and hiking help that you offered a few months ago, but haven't had the chance. Loved visiting Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce. Loved all the lodges and parks. All these parks seemed to be run so much better than our dear Yosemite. It made me wonder why? Zion & Grand Canyon have huge visitation numbers, so it can't be the # of visitors. Their lodge prices were great, for what you get. Got a King Suite in the Sentinel building in Zion Lodge for less than $300 a night Beautiful decorations, amazing view from room. We had a deluxe cabin at Bryce, the first row (nearest to the rim), again, for around $250 a night. Ahwahnee charges $500 for a room, and you may not even have a view. The hotel lobby, etc at Ahwahnee is of course unique, but the rooms, not so.

Plus the shuttles in both Zion and GC were fabulous, organized and ran often. The parks just seemed better managed. Smoother operations, cleaner, more organized. The water bottle filling stations were very nice. Bryce was magical too. I only allocated one night for Bryce, but definitely should have had more.I really enjoyed the smell of Jeffrey Pines at Bryce. Much stronger scent than in the Sierras.

In Zion, hiked part of the Narrows, that was our kids' favorite part of the whole trip. It's kind of adventurous, wading through lots of water in a narrow canyon. Can't wait to go back and explore all those parks more, even Page had a lot to offer in the surrounding areas. Visited Antelope Slot Canyon. Would have liked it more if there weren't lots of people taking pictures. Felt like it should be a spiritual place, but it wasn't. Also great night in Austin, NV on our way back, staying at the Cozy Mtn Motel. Austin is a great old mining town, with a lot of history.

Thank you all for the parks survey where Zion ranked highly. That was my motivation for this trip.
Re: Zion- Mount Carmel Highway Temporarily Closed Due to Major Rock Fall
August 14, 2016 12:45PM
Knock on rock, I can't recall anybody being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Would Mother Nature be sued?
avatar Zion-Mount Carmel Highway Reopens in Zion National Park
August 14, 2016 01:22PM
Springdale, UT- The Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, which runs through Zion National Park, has reopened after being closed since Wednesday, August 10 due to a large rock fall prompted by an intense storm concentrating more than 2 inches of rainfall in a short period of time. The rock fall area has been cleared and all normal traffic flow through the park has resumed.

The rock fall occurred in the park around 6:00 p.m.on Wednesday, August 10. It was located below the tunnel, in between the Pine Creek Bridge and the Scenic Drive. The main rock fall consisted of a large boulder that fell upon the road, split, and blocked both lanes.

The area was assessed with the help of hazard geologists from the Utah Geological Survey on Thursday, August 11. They recommended letting the saturated soil dry out before attempting to remove the rock in order to lessen the chance of further rock falls. This morning, a contractor broke the boulder into smaller pieces using a hydraulic ram-hoe and removed the material. Zion National Park road crew then cut out the damaged asphalt section of the road and placed a temporary gravel patch on it. Once the roadway was deemed safe, it was reopened for traffic.

"We want to thank all the people who have been affected by the road closure for their patience as we worked to get the road reopened as soon as it was safe to do so", stated Zion National Park Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh. "The safety of the visiting public and our staff is of the utmost importance to us."
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