ST. GEORGE — Starting Tuesday, everyone visiting Kanarraville to go on the popular falls hike will need an $8 permit.
After years of overcrowding on the trail and an estimated 45,000 people who visited the falls in 2017, the permit system starting May 1 will hopefully cut down on the number of hikers, said Kanarraville town clerk David Ence. There will be no limit on the number of permits sold each day, but if the overcrowding continues, Ence said the town may consider implementing quotas.
The announcement on the date that permits would begin to be required came at the Iron County Commission meeting Monday.
“The goal of the permits is not to raise money for the city,” Ence said. “The goal is to reduce the number of people who go up the trail.”
The trail to the falls follows Kanarra Creek through a red-rock slot canyon to a couple of waterfalls, which can be scaled with the iconic ladders placed there. Previously, visitors needed to pay $10 per vehicle to park at the trailhead to visit the falls
Those interested will be able to buy their permit online or at a newly-built kiosk at the trailhead, Ence said. Cash and checks will not be accepted for the permit if it’s being bought at the kiosk – only credit or debit card purchases there.
“We’re hoping most people will just buy it online and not at the kiosk because it’ll be a lot easier that way,” Ence said.
After hikers arrive at the trailhead, an official in the kiosk will scan each permit, which will then become void after it’s scanned so it can’t be used again.
The job for the person sitting in the kiosk scanning hiking permits is a new one created by the city for the new permit system, Ence said. The official in the kiosk will be there daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The $8 charge per permit will be required for each and every hiker on the trail. Parking at the trailhead and in the city will be free under the permit system, Ence said.
“Hopefully people will be patient with the new system and it’ll be a big success,” Ence said.
Kanarra Falls is not the first Instagram-famous site in Southern Utah to be slapped with a permit system. Other popular backcountry hikes like The Subway in Zion National Park and The Wave near Kanab already require limited permits on how many people can visit them each day.
For more information on the Kanarra Falls hiking permits or to buy a permit, visit kanarrafalls.com.
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