Keep in mind when making your hiking plans for the day, the following trail closures in Zion are still in effect (as of 8/3/18)
The Upper & Lower Emerald Pools trails are closed from the rockfall location
The trail is open from the Emerald Pools trailhead to the just beneath the waterfall
Lower West Rim Trail
The trail is closed from the Grotto to Cabin Springs
This closure includes access to Angels Landing from the Grotto
The Zion Shuttle will continue to make a stop at the Grotto to pick up passengers, though it will not be dropping off passengers there.
Enjoy the beautiful rain, but please keep in mind that it is unpredictable during monsoon season. Your safety is your responsibility, so please use caution when hiking in washes and slot canyons to avoid being caught in a flash flood. For additional safety considerations during monsoon season, please take a moment to read this previous post. 😊
The West Rim Trail is officially open as of May 8, 2018.
Hikers who want to see some of the most incredible sights available in Zion National Park (and who are also a wee bit masochistic), can now enjoy the 14 mile trek from the West Rim trailhead (below Lava Point) on Kolob mountain in Southern Utah to the Grotto in Zion.
I did this hike 2 years ago and I was fully unprepared for the level of difficulty that it presented. Below are some of my pointers (though it’s not an all-inclusive list) for the trip. Note that these suggestions are for hiking the West Rim Trail in one day and not camping:
West Rim Trail day-hike tips –
Wear good shoes! – I wore ‘okay’ shoes and it was miserable! Wear durable hiking shoes that you have already broken in. They should have a comfortable sole and some sort of padding near the toes (you will be going down some very steep hills and this will come in handy). I also recommend wearing Bandaids or some other sort of skin protection on your heel where your shoe would rub against your skin. I had blood blisters the size of nickels on both feet at the end of this hike
Take LOTS of water! – Fortunately, this is one of the things I did get right. There is nowhere to refill your water along this hike and you are going to be really thirsty. I would recommend taking at least 100 ounces in a CamelBak, as well as large back up water bottles. When I went, it was hot, but not as hot as it can get it the summer. I would say to take no less than 2 gallons of water, per person, if you’re hiking in the heat & make sure to drink it
Pregame your hydration – drink plenty of water in the days prior to your hike to fend off cramping due to dehydration
Take plenty of snacks – Salty snacks are good as you will lose a lot of electrolytes through your sweat. I took beef jerky, crackers, and trail mix
Pack a lunch – I took a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a Gatorade. I can’t tell you how good that tasted!
Wear sunblock, UV protection for your lips, a hat, and sunglasses
Watch the weather – It’s always a good idea to know what you’re up against
Dress in layers – Don’t wear clothes that might chafe your skin
Have a plan for a ride to the trail head – If you’re staying in Springdale, you should be able to take the Zion National Park shuttle from the Grotto back to the town shuttle and to your hotel. There are a couple of shuttle companies that take people to the trail head, but be prepared for around $40/person for the lift (it will save you the hassle of having to find a way back up to retrieve your car). Plan ahead as these shuttles fill up quickly
Take toilet paper and a waste bag – Just in case
Take a first aid kit – I pack a basic kit with things like Bandaids, tweezers, nail clippers, wrap, gauze, Neosporin, pain relievers, and alcohol swabs
Be aware of your surroundings – watch for wildlife such as snakes, mountain lions, and more
Plan for plenty of time to spend on your hike – you’re not going to want to be in a hurry, so leave early in the morning to get started
Don’t take the shortcut! – as tempting as it may be to take the “shortcut”, which if I remember correctly saves you about a mile, don’t do it! You will miss out on some spectacular scenery
Take a cellphone – even if you don’t get great cell service, you may still be able to make an emergency call if you need
If you like to walk with a hiking stick, this would be a good hike for it