Graffiti, trash close Angels Landing Trail for cleanup

Foreground image: Overcrowding has led to safety concerns on the Angels Landing Trail, which includes drops of 1,000 to 1,500 feet, Zion National Park, Utah, date unspecified, photo courtesy of Lisa Landreth | Background image: Zion National Park seen from Grafton, date unspecified, photo by John Teasdale | St. George News

SPRINGDALE – Angels Landing Trail will be closed Thursday beginning at noon at the West Rim trailhead near the Grotto shuttle stop to clean the popular route, Zion National Park officials announced Monday.

The Angels Landing closure is needed while park rangers clean up vandalism and trash left along the trail by park visitors.

Rangers will need to scrub off graffiti, remove cairns along the chained sections of the trails and clean up litter, including water bottles, food wrappers and other trash left by hikers that have blown over the edges of the cliffs and caught on lower ledges.

“It is our hope that hikers understand and work to improve their trail ethics in order to minimize closures like this – pack out your trash, don’t create graffiti and don’t build rock cairns,” Therese Picard, Canyon District Ranger, said.

Rugged terrain abounds in the desert of Southwest Utah. This 2015 photo shows the last leg to the top of Angels Landing in Zion National Park, Utah, March 11, 2015 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News
Rugged terrain abounds in the desert of Southwest Utah. This 2015 photo shows the last leg to the top of Angels Landing in Zion National Park, Utah, March 11, 2015 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

Through-hikers on the West Rim Trail will be allowed to pass by Scouts Lookout but not go out to Angels Landing. The Kayenta Trail will remain open.

Hikers already on the trail will have time to exit before the closure. The trail will reopen the following morning. Alternate suggested trail hikes during this closure are to Hidden Canyon or Echo Canyon.

Due to the nature of the trail, its narrow working area and 1,000-foot drop offs, this task requires a multidivisional team from the park, including rappelling operations from the cliffs and providing security for visitors from possible falling debris while cleaning is performed.

Angels Landing is an incredibly popular and busy trail for park goers.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to care for this beautiful and extraordinary park now and into the future,” Jeff Bradybaugh, park superintendent, said.

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