Flash floods Hit Capitol Reef National Park as Zion Recovers and Arches Traffic Slows

Zion National Park is taking measures to get ahead of the next flash flood and will be closing State Route 9 through the park, beginning Monday.

Julia Tantare is visiting Zion National Park from Oregon with a friend. They’re staying at the Watchman Campground, where just weeks ago, flash floods swept through visitors campsites.

“I think it’s just one of those things, where this is where we’re staying and we’re just going to go with it and until something else happens, this is where we’re at,” says Tantare.

Zion National Park officials say Zion-Mount Carmel Highway will be closed on most weekdays beginning next week until August from 10 PM to 6 AM to clear drainage along the highway, after the storm on June 29 left the park and the town of Springdale with extensive damage.

“It’s surprising to me too because I haven’t spent any time here in the monsoon season, but so it’s all new to me, so I’m like ‘oh yeah this is really serious stuff,’” says Dave Ahlers, who is visiting from Oregon and staying at the Watchman Campground.

While these visitors are keeping a watchful eye on anticipated storms, officials want to remind recreators to plan accordingly.

“Just be aware and follow the rangers’ advice and get out and hike anyway, it’s all part of the magic,” says Ahlers.

Park officials say they believe undergoing maintenance and full closures at night will decrease traffic congestion and reduce visitor impacts.

“Long-term I’m sure it will make people feel safe and secure when they’re visiting the park, so you know, I think overall I think it’s a good thing they’re doing it, even though in the short-term it might not be great,” says Tantare.

State Route 59 from Hurricane to Fredonia, Arizona and SR-14 from Cedar City to the Long Valley Junction with ST-89 can be alternative routes during the closures.


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