Photo credit: National Park Service.

Flash Flood Rips Through Zion National Park, Forces Road Closures

More than an inch of rain fell in an hour in Zion National Park, causing flooding that damaged some roads and tourism facilities.

Work crews are cleaning up areas of Zion National Park today after a heavy downpour Tuesday afternoon left parts of the park in shambles.

According to a press release, Zion National Park will be in modified operations on Wednesday, June 30, due to cleanup activities. Motorists should exercise caution.


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Visitors should expect traffic delays, debris on roads, and potential closures of trails and parking areas as cleanup continues and damage is being assessed. The oversized vehicle lot is closed until further notice. The park has very limited oversized vehicle parking due to this closure.

Visitors should plan on parking in town where oversized parking is available on Lion Boulevard and other parking areas.

Zion Flooding: A Part of the Landscape

While the flooding on Tuesday disrupted park operations, it is a common and even needed occurrence in the canyons. And it’s likely more flash floods are on the way.

According to the National Weather Service, the Flash Flood rating for Zion National Park for today is “probable.” Zion National Park experiences monsoons from mid-July into September that result in an increased risk of flash floods.

For hikers and canyoneers, flash floods present a real danger. They often occur without warning and can increase water flow “by over 100 times,” according to the NPS.

Zion Park recommends that people plan ahead and be prepared. Always be aware of the threat of storms and lightning, and be prepared for a wide range of weather conditions. Flash floods, often caused by storms miles away, are a very real danger and can be life-threatening.

Know the weather and flash flood potential ratings before starting your trip. If bad weather threatens, do not enter a narrow canyon.

Three critical steps to flash flood safety are: get to higher ground, do not drive in water, and stay informed. When an area is flooded turn around — don’t drown.

Today, Zion National Park is working to reopen closed sections of SR-9, the South and East Entrances for inbound and outbound traffic, the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, the Park Store, and park and in-town shuttle operations.

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Sean McCoy

Sean McCoy is the Editorial Director of GearJunkie, and 5+ other All Gear websites.

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