Zion National Park closes campgrounds, popular hiking trail

This 2015 file 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

SPRINGDALE — Zion National Park has announced changes to operations to facilitate social distancing and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Effective Tuesday, March 24, the park will temporarily close the Angels Landing Trail from Scout Lookout to the end of the trail. The West Rim Trail will remain open.

Effective Wednesday, March 25 at noon, all park campgrounds will be closed. No other areas in the park are authorized for camping.

The park itself remains open and visitors will be allowed to drive up the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive until the limited parking in the main canyon has filled. Once parking is full, the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive will be closed and open intermittently as parking spaces become available. The park is busiest between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“The health and safety of people visiting and working at Zion National Park is our priority,” the National Park Service said in a press release. “We are working with the National Park Service Office of Public Health and the U.S. Public Health Service to closely monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.”

Zion shuttle fleet parked near the maintenance facility, Zion National Park, Utah, March 2, 2018 | File photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

Reopening of campgrounds, resumption of shuttle service, and the Angel’s Landing trail depend on the eventual resolution of the COVID-19 emergency. Once public safety can be assured, the temporary closures and limits on services will be rescinded.

Other measures that have been taken include creating virtual visitor centers in lieu of staffed buildings and putting all wilderness permits online. Park rangers are available in real time to answer phone calls and emails during regular business hours for information and trip planning. There are signs throughout the park with phone numbers and email contact information.

Following CDC guidance, the park service recommends that visitors take the following routine precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use at least 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or do so into your elbow. Dispose of the tissue and wash your hands again.
  • Keep six feet of separation between yourself and others to reduce the potential spread of infection.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • For high-risk populations, such as the elderly and people with underlying conditions, we ask that they take extra caution and follow CDC guidance.
  • Most importantly, if you experience flu symptoms or any serious infection or virus, please stay home to avoid exposing others.

We are also asking visitors to practice leave no trace principles by staying on park trails, disposing of waste properly, minimizing impacts on park resources, respecting wildlife and being considerate of others.

“Please help us take care of Zion during this difficult time,” the press release states.

COVID-19 information resources

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