Wildfires Burning in Southern Utah

*Update 8/2/18 – There are currently no active wildfires burning in our area, though we are seeing a significant amount of smoke from the California wildfires. Please click the link below (in red) to view our current air conditions.

As you may have heard by now, there are several wildfires burning in Southern Utah.

You may be wondering what impact this will have on your travel plans to Zion National Park.

The fires are not in the immediate vicinity, and there are no major travel impacts at this time.

Check here for current air quality conditions.

Wildfires are unfortunately commonplace in the summer months. The majority of these fires are human-caused, so please take a moment to read about the current fire restrictions.

The nearest fires to Zion National Park are as follows: (all currently contained)

  • The West Valley Fire Located near Pine Valley, Utah [approximately 50 miles northwest of Springdale]
    • Burning since Wednesday evening [6/27/18]
    • Has currently burned 11,785 acres as of Saturday [7/7/18]
    • 46% contained as of Saturday [7/7/18]
  • The Black Mountain Fire Located near Minersville, Utah [approximately 90 miles north of Springdale]
    • Burning since Wednesday [6/27/18]
    • Has currently burned 5,988 acres
    • 98% contained as of Tuesday evening [7/3/18] *out, but still managing a few hot spots
  • The Willow Patch Fire Located near Richfield, Utah [approximately 160 miles north of Springdale]
    • Burning since Friday afternoon [6/29/18]
    • Has currently burned 4,788 acres [7/3/18]
    • 60% contained [7/3/18]
    • State Route 24 between the junction of SR 119 to SR 62 is currently closed [as of 5pm, 6/29/18]
  • The Dry Canyon Fire Located near Parowan, Utah [approximately 70 miles north of Springdale]
    • Burning since Thursday afternoon [6/28/18]
    • Has currently burned approximately 23 acres
    • Fully contained as of Saturday evening [6/30/18]

west valley fire 2

*Above image – smoke cloud as seen from the town of Virgin on 6/28/18

west valley fire

*Above photo of the West Valley Fire courtesy of KUTV.com

Zion National Park – Ride with a Ranger Interpretive Shuttle Tour Information

Ride with a Ranger Interpretive Shuttle Tour in Zion National Park

Visitors to Zion National Park who want to enjoy the educational experience of learning more about the Park’s flora, fauna, and geology, should consider taking part in Zion’s Ride with a Ranger program.

Those who are interested can sign up, in person, at the Zion National Park Visitor Center’s information desk, from 24 hours up to 3 days in advance.

The free tours are given daily throughout the season from 9am-11am. Each tour takes approximately 90 minutes.

What to know if you want to join the Ride With A Ranger Interpretive Shuttle Tour:

  • Tours are free
  • Tours are offered daily, in season
  • Hours are between 9am and 11am
  • Must sign up in person
  • Sign up 24 hours to 3 days in advance
  • Go to the information desk at the Zion National Park Visitor Center to sign up
  • Tours take approximately 90 minutes
  • Groups must be 8 people or less

Additional Ranger-led programs are available throughout the season. For additional information, see the Zion National Park Spring 2018 newsletter, here.

ranger led programs

Permit Now Required for Kanarra Falls in Southern Utah

Permit Now Required for Kanarraville Falls in Southern Utah

In an effort to deter the hordes of hikers who descend upon the small town of Kanarraville, in Southern Utah each year (potentially causing a water contamination issue for residents who rely upon this water source), there will now be a permit required to hike Kanarra Falls (also known as Kanarraville Falls or Kanarra Creek Falls).

Kanarra Falls has become quite popular in the last few years, seeing an estimated 45,000 hikers in 2017 alone.

Below you will find a summary of information from the Kanarra Falls website of what you need to know:

  • As of May 1, 2018 a permit is required to hike Kanarra Falls
  • The cost of the permits are $8 per person, and does include the fee to park at the trail head parking lot [100 North 300 East, Kanarraville, Utah]
  • Parking permits can be purchased in advance, here. Note – there is a nominal transaction fee
  • Permits can be purchased at the trail head with a credit or debit card (no cash transactions)
  • There are no limits on the number of available permits at this time (subject to change)
  • One non-profit group permit is available each day, for a maximum of 30 people, at a price of $25 (this is for non-profit groups – reservations must be made on the website and proof of non-profit status is required)
  • Commercial operations must purchase permits at the regular rate of $8 per person
  • If you purchase your permit in advance, bring a paper or text version of your permit to the trail where the attendant will scan it (once scanned, it cannot be used again)
  • Permit purchases are final and are non-refundable under any circumstances

This hike does require you to walk on a dirt road, as well as through water. Wear appropriate shoes and follow all other hiking common sense rules 😊

I will be posting my own list of common sense rules for hikers, but in the meantime, here’s a good one that I found from Utah.com called The Hiker’s Code

The Kanarra Falls website is a great source of additional information about the hike, and I highly recommend that you read it before you go.

(*Above image courtesy of Utah.com)

No, It’s Not Snow – It’s the Annual Cottonwood Tree Bloom in Southern Utah

Have you been wondering what that fluffy white stuff is that you’re seeing falling from the sky and collecting on the ground all around Springdale and Zion National Park?

It’s not snow ❄… unfortunately (we could really use that right about now!)

It’s an annual event that we experience in Southern Utah called the Cottonwood bloom.

The Western Cottonwood trees that you see growing so beautifully along banks of the Virgin River, creating a stark contrast of green leaves against red rocks, release their cotton after pollination is complete.

You may also have noticed a bunch of creepy crawly caterpillars wandering all over the roads and sidewalks, along with what looks like enclosed webs full of insects overtaking the Cottonwood trees (and other shrubs and trees). 🌳

(*Image courtesy of: https://www.123rf.com/stock-photo/eastern_utah.html?sti=nz11l3g1t0soqpkd8w|)

These are Western Tent Caterpillars, and don’t worry, unless you happen to be a tree, they’re pretty harmless (assuming you don’t have an uncommon allergy to them). I used to pick them up and play with them all the time as a kid.

Luckily, both of these natural phenomena are temporary and only last a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, shield your eyes from the little pieces of cotton flying around, and watch your step. 🐛

Construction Update – SR-9: Springdale – Zion National Park

*Update 8/9/18 – Road construction is complete on Zion Park Boulevard (SR-9) in Springdale, Utah except for minor final touches [example: Canyon Springs Drive]. Road construction on State Route 9 (highway 9) between Virgin, Utah and Rockville, Utah is now underway. The purpose of this project is to add passing lanes. The impact to your drive to Springdale is expected to be minimal. Please read more about it here.

The road construction that we have been patiently (well some days not so much 😉) waiting for its completion is finally coming to an end!

It will still be a few weeks until the project is finished. There are still several areas of sidewalk that are closed, and multiple sections of the highway through Springdale where construction barricades are placed to guide traffic through makeshift lanes.

(Above image: Southbound on SR-9 Zion Park Boulevard – 4/25/18)

As of this update on 4/30/18, the Canyon Springs Drive (between the Hampton Inn, The SpringHill Suites, and the Switchback) is closed to access. The alternate route to access the SpringHill Suites is through the parking lot of the Hampton Inn.

(Above image: Canyon Springs Drive access is closed near SpringHill Suites – 4/30/18)

Construction crews are currently working on the section near Blondie’s Diner and traffic is down to a single lane in that area. The wait time was less than 5 minutes today.

(Above photo: Southbound on SR-9 in Springdale, Utah near Subway, Cafe Soleil, and the Cliffrose Lodge – 4/30/18)

The construction schedule has been pretty much on time and the vast majority of the work is complete. The roads do look nice with new crosswalks and bike lanes.

As you know from a previous blog post, there are now parking meters throughout the town of Springdale for visitors to Zion National Park.

Even though there are a few areas where the sidewalks are closed to allow the freshly poured concrete to cure, and there are still barricades along the road in many places, it is so much better than it has been!

(Above image: Up-canyon [northbound] view of SR-9 in Springdale, Utah toward Zion National Park from approximately the La Quinta hotel)

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Zion National Park Fee Increase – The Price of Entry to Zion and Other National Parks to Increase as of June 1, 2018

Zion Entry Fee Increase – 2018

New Zion Entry Fee Structure:

  • Zion National Park 7-day, per vehicle, pass – $35
  • Zion National Park 7-day, per person, pass – $20
  • Zion National Park 7-day, per motorcycle, pass – $30
  • Zion National Park, annual, pass – $70
  • Zion National Park annual, senior citizen (age 62 +), pass – $20

The America the Beautiful pass (aka The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass) will remain $80.

This pass allows entrance to all federal lands for a 12 month period after purchase.


According to the National Park Service website, this modest fee increase is to help “raise additional revenue to address the $11.6 billion in deferred maintenance across the system of 417 parks, historic and cultural sites, and monuments”.

Keep in mind that only the proceeds from the Zion National Park passes go toward maintaining the shuttle system.

As anyone who has visited Zion when the shuttle system is not in effect can attest, the shuttle system is very important for the preservation and enjoyment of Zion Canyon.

For additional information about various National Park pass options, check here or here

park_fees

(*Above image courtesy of: https://drivetofive.com/2016/11/27/thanksgiving-2016-zion-national-park-in-southern-utah/ – showing previous Zion National Park entry fee structure)

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Parking in Springdale – Parking Policies in Springdale, Utah for Visitors to Zion National Park

Parking in Springdale – Parking Policies in Springdale, Utah for Visitors to Zion National Park in 2018

Visitors to Zion National Park will see some big changes to parking in Springdale this year.

Springdale has implemented on-street parking policies. In areas where parking is still permitted, you will find new parking kiosks. The cost to park in these zones is $1 for the first hour with each subsequent hour being an additional $3.50. The maximum daily rate is $22.

As you can see on the parking map, there is little on-street parking remaining. Most hotels in Springdale have free parking for their guests. It is highly recommended that you leave your vehicle at your hotel and take the town shuttle to Zion National Park.

For those who are not staying at a hotel or other lodging option in Springdale, there are additional paid parking lots available in town. Do not park in the parking lots of any businesses that you are not an active customer of as many business owners will be forced to have any vehicles not belonging to their customers or guests towed at the owner’s expense.

Parking policies will be enforced 7 days a week between the hours of 6am and 6pm. The town will issue citations to anyone who is parked in no parking zones, or to those who have not paid to park in parking zones (citations range from $60 to $125).

Payments for parking can be made at the parking meter kiosks with a credit or debit card. You will need to enter your license plate information in the kiosk (the town of Springdale recommends that visitors download the ‘Whoosh‘ app for easier payments).

Please note that a parking pass is not an entrance pass to Zion, nor is an entrance pass to Zion a parking pass. These will need to be purchased separately.

Springdale, Utah on-street parking prices:

  • 1st hour = $1
  • 2+ hours = $3.50/hour
  • Maximum daily rate = $22

Parking map can be viewed here: https://www.springdaletown.com/DocumentCenter/View/863

(Above image: Parking meter kiosk in Springdale, Utah – April 2018)

parking map

Shuttle Route; Springdale, Utah Summer, In-Town Shuttle Route to and from Zion National Park, Shops, and Restaurants

*Update – the shuttle system is running on the regular Summer Schedule

summer shuttle schedule

On Easter weekend, the transportation department, which manages the shuttle system for Springdale and Zion National Park, decided to test whether they can run the Springdale town shuttles on their normal route (from the Visitor Center to the Majestic View Lodge).

The conclusion was that, until the construction on State Route 9 through town is completed, the shuttle route will remain “fluid” on a daily basis. Each morning, the transportation department coordinates with the construction crew in charge of the highway project to determine how the day’s construction events will impact the shuttle route.

Because of this, the transportation department is making daily announcements on each of their shuttle runs through town to inform passengers of the plan. This will occasionally mean that the shuttle driver will announce that anyone staying at a hotel south of the Hampton Inn will want to plan to be back to their hotel prior to 6pm (as the majority of the roadwork happening this week is going on between the hours of 7pm and 7am).

In any event, the road construction schedule is on-time and will be completed by April 15th. The shuttle route should return to normal before this time, most likely by April 8th, but is guaranteed to be on the regular schedule by April 16th.

Use the link below to access the 2018 Shuttle Schedule for Zion National Park and Springdale, Utah [courtesy of the National Park Service website] –

Shuttle Schedule

Cliffs in Zion National Park Closed to Climbing – update: Most OPEN as of 8/1/18

Rock-Climbing Closures Zion National Park – last updated 8/1/18

*Update: Most Cliffs are now OPEN to Climbing -Except- Angel’s Landing*

Zion National Park has closed the following cliffs to rock-climbing in an effort to protect the nesting sites of the peregrine falcon – all other cliffs will remain open to climbing (cliffs with a strike through have been reopened to climbing):

  • Angels Landing – Angels Landing climbing route to remain closed until the trail at Refrigerator Canyon is reopened (following damage from floods in July)
  • Cable Mountain
  • The Great White Throne (beyond single and double-pitched climbs)
  • Isaac (in Court of the Patriarchs)
  • The Sentinel
  • Mountain of the Sun
  • North Twin Brother
  • Tunnel Wall
  • The East Temple
  • Mount Spry
  • The Streaked Wall
  • Mount Kinesava
  • Middle Fork of Taylor Creek

(*If there is a strike through, the route is no longer closed)

Information courtesy of Zion National Park dispatch

(Image source: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/perfal/introduction)

Kolob Canyons Access Closed for 7 Months

Kolob Canyons Closed for 7 Months

Starting on May 1, 2018:

Access to the Kolob Canyons section of Zion National Park will be limited to only those who have acquired an overnight permit to hike from the Hop Valley Trail to the La Verkin Creek Trail and to the Kolob Arch.

According to the National Park Service’s Zion National Park website:

The project involves:

  • reconstructing sections of the road
  • repaving the entire road
  • adding accessible parking
  • adding accessible sidewalk
  • adding accessible toilet facilities

During the seven-month project, the following areas will be closed:

  • all of Kolob Canyons Road
  • the Visitor Center
  • parking lot off of Interstate 15
  • the Taylor Creek Trail
  • the Timber Creek Overlook Trail
  • Lee Pass Trailhead
  • all other areas served via the Kolob Canyons Road

For more information, check herekolob canyons