Monsoon Season in the Desert Southwest

Monsoon season in southern Utah and Zion National Park is, in a word, unpredictable.

It is also incredibly beautiful, but unforgiving and dangerous.

Monsoonal rains are an annual occurrence that we experience in southern Utah, typically mid-July through as late as early September.

Even though these storms can occur any time of the day, they typically begin in the afternoon through late evening.

Should you find yourself enjoying the outdoors of southern Utah during monsoon season, here are some things to remember:

  • If you are hiking a slot canyon, always check the weather for areas up to 40 miles away (typically to the north or east of the area you’re hiking). A flash flood can come from rains many miles away, even if the skies are clear where you are
  • Stay out of dry washes, slot canyons, rivers, or streams during storms. Water levels can rise quickly, bringing fast-moving floods or even masses of debris at the front. Always seek higher ground as quickly as possible. Even a few feet can make a difference
  • Take shelter during a thunder storm. We have some amazing lightning storms during monsoon season. View them from the safety of a building or a vehicle
  • Another thing to keep in mind, especially hiking in the Narrows, is that the park service cannot always know when to expect a flash flood and may not close the hike. Some of the worst flooding events have occurred on days with the lowest percentage chance of rain. Your safety is your responsibility, so always use caution and be aware of the weather and your surroundings

Aside from the dangers of monsoon season, it is one of the most incredible times of the year here in southern Utah. You may never again get to see the ephemeral waterfalls, the lightning shows, a rainbow over the cliffs of Zion, or experience the smell of the desert after the rain!

https://ziongrapevine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/img_3354.trim_.mov

So enjoy the show, but know before you go! 😉

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)

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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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

Shuttle Schedule for Spring 2018

*Note – The updated post for the Shuttle Schedule can be found here

Today is the day that the Zion Canyon shuttle in Zion National Park is scheduled to resume operations for the season.

The first shuttle of the day will leave the Visitor Center at 7:00am, daily. The last shuttle pick up from the Temple of Sinewava is at 8:15pm.

The Springdale town shuttle will also resume, but on a modified route. The first Springdale town shuttle will begin at 8:05am and run until 9:15pm, seven days a week.

(Springdale town.com)

(Nps.gov)