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Zion National Park highway closed due to rockslide from storms

Updated March 3, 2019 - 7:08 pm

A rockslide has shut down State Route 9 through Zion National Park in Utah, the National Park Service reported Sunday.

The closure will be “long term,” the service said, after another storm pounded the region with snow and rain.

The road, known as the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, was closed Saturday night after reports of an active rockslide on the switchbacks below the tunnel in the southern section of the park. On Sunday, officials discovered that the retaining wall had failed and eight feet of the road is severely undercut east of the first switchback.

As a result, park officials closed the road, from the East Entrance to Canyon Junction, “until further notice.” Also, access to Canyon Overlook Trail, near the tunnel, is closed.

Alternate routes

The service is advising visitors about alternate east and west driving routes. They 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 coming from Interstate 15 to Zion may access the park as usual by traveling east on State Route 9 through Springdale. All park facilities, including the visitor center, museum, campgrounds, and shuttle buses, are open and operating as normal in Zion Canyon. The Kolob Canyons facilities and Kolob Terrace also are open.

Trail, route closures

Several canyonneering routes have also been closed because of the road’s shutdown. These include: Keyhole, Canyon Overlook, Pine Creek, Spry, Clear Creek, Fat Man’s Misery and Lodge Canyons.

Park officials say visitors should expect trail closures. The Kayenta Trail and Upper Emerald Pools Trail remain closed due to a landslide from July 2018. The East Rim Trail, as well as total access to Hidden Canyon and access from the main canyon to Observation Point, remain closed due to a landslide and an unstable overhanging boulder since January.

Officials said the park has received 10.12 inches of precipitation since Oct. 1. In comparison, during the same time period one year ago, the park received 2.77 inches of precipitation.

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