UPDATED: Officials hope to reopen Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway while some trails remain closed due to damage

Zion National Park south entrance sign and monument, Zion National Park, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Zion National Park, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Following a widespread thunderstorm over Washington County Thursday night, the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway remains closed from the east entrance of Zion National Park to Canyon Junction in Zion Canyon, according to a social media post from Washington County Emergency Services.

For most current update, click here: Riverside walk reopens in Zion; highway and other trails that suffered ‘major damage’ remain closed

If all goes well, however, the highway could be reopen Friday afternoon.

Prior to Thursday’s storm, Zion National Park received 3 inches of rain over a short period of time Wednesday that resulted in flooding and landslides that occurred on the switchbacks below the tunnel on the east side of the park.

Read more: UPDATED: Following flooding and rock slides, Zion officials indefinitely close roads, trails

Much progress was made in clearing rock, debris and mud,” Washington County Emergency Services posted online. “There are a few areas that need more extensive work than clearing. We anticipate opening the road tomorrow afternoon, but that depends on the speed of progress tomorrow and if we have any further damage overnight.”

A flash flood warning for Zion National Park and other parts of the county was issued by the National Weather Service shortly after 5 p.m., with the alert staying in effect for Zion National Park until 11:15 p.m.

Photo depicts the effects of heavy rains that led to the closure of roads and trails in Zion National Park, Utah, July 11, 2018 | File photo courtesy Zion National Park, St. George News

Read more: Flash flood warnings for areas in and around Snow Canyon, Zion National Park

The current status of trails within Zion National Park

Riverside Walk/The Narrows

  • Rocks, mud and debris are mostly cleared. If there is no further damage overnight, officials anticipate park personnel completing work and opening the trail by mid-morning Friday.

Upper Emerald Pools Trail

  • Currently inaccessible and closed due to extensive trail damage leading to that location.

Lower Emerald Pools Trail

  • Open only to the alcove near where Upper Emerald Pools trail connects.

Kayenta Trail

  • Closed due to extensive damage.

West Rim Trail from Grotto Trailhead in Zion Canyon

  • Where the Angels Landing hike starts. This trail is closed due to extensive damage in Refrigerator Canyon.

West Rim Trail from Lava Point to Cabin Spring

  • Open, but closed beyond Cabin Spring due to wildfire ignition.

“Where trails are extensively damaged we are looking for safe, temporary pathways to hopefully reopen them soon, but some may not have work-around options given the terrain,” according to Washington County Emergency Services.

A fire crew blocks access to a segment of SR-18 at Veyo due to flash flooding in the area that left debris on the roadway. Road crews were eventually able to clear the scene, according the Washington County Emergency Services, Veyo, Utah, July 12, 2018 | Photo by Markee Heckenliable, St. George News

Shuttle service in Zion Canyon

Officials expect that full shuttle routes and stops will be operational. However, trails leaving from Grotto trailhead are not open (West Rim/Angels Landing and Kayenta). Because of that, the shuttle will not be dropping visitors off at the Grotto shuttle stop.

There are also three small wildfires burning within the park that were sparked by lightning from recent storms.

“We hope to contain and suppress those with assistance from rainfall/high humidity/elevated fuel moisture,” according to Washington County Emergency Services.

The heavier rains died down by around 7:30 p.m. with subsequent reports of flooding or threats of flooding in Dammeron Valley and parts of Hurricane.

Flooding also blocked off a segment of state Route 18 for a short while at milepost 16.

Updated July 13, 1:45 p.m. with most recent story on Zion National Park status.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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