High water levels close The Narrows in Zion National Park

The Narrows in Zion National Park | Photo courtesy of the National Park Service, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Zion National Park is known for its magnificent trails, but currently one of its most popular hikes —The Narrows — is closed due to high water levels from snow melt.

The closure affects all routes that exit through The Narrows, according to an alert issued by the National Park Service Sunday. The area will remain closed until the water level drops below 150 cubic feet per second and remains there for 24 hours.

The current flow of the river measures 241 cubic feet per second, according to a discharge reading taken by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Water level fluctuates greatly from year to year and day to day depending on many factors such as rainfall and snow melt.

When the river is running below 70 cubic feet per second, walking in The Narrows is moderately difficult, with knee deep crossings on the slippery and uneven river bottom and frequent pools up to waist deep.

When the current goes above 70 cubic feet per second, walking against the current becomes challenging and crossings of mid-thigh deep are frequent, with pools that can be chest deep. Once the flow goes over 150 cubic feet per second, The Narrows is closed to all travel.

According to the Zion National Park website, The Narrows is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon and is one of the most popular spots in the park. The walls of The Narrows are a thousand feet high in places, and the width of the canyon narrows to only 20 to 30 feet wide at points.

When the hike reopens, those hiking upstream as far as Big Spring may do so without a permit; whereas hikers who wish to go beyond that point or hike The Narrows from the top — starting at Chamberlain’s Ranch — will require a permit.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


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