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Utah Travel Headlines

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Zion's Waterfall Season

Hiking conditions are very good in Zion Park right now. I hiked in the park last weekend and had a great time.

The weather was sunny and daytime temperatures climbed up near 60 F. Snow is gone from Zion Canyon and lower-elevation trails are in good shape.

Snow is melting quickly from the high country and runoff is starting to cascade down the cliff faces. During the next few weeks there will be numerous seasonal waterfalls in Zion Canyon and other areas of the park. They will be easy to see from the road, and from popular trails.

We hiked the West Rim Trail to Scout Lookout. The lower part of the trail is fully exposed to the afternoon sun and it felt very good to hike in warm sunshine.

Walters Wiggles had considerable snow and ice, but we were able to go up and down with little trouble.

My photo shows Angels Landing on the left and the Great White Throne in the middle. As you can see, Angels has snow in many places. The snow is melting fast - it will probably be totally gone from Angels and the Wiggles by the end of February.

Hiking conditions are normally very good during March for trails in Zion Canyon and up the rims. But weather can be unsettled. If storms bring rain or snow, trails will be muddy for a day or two. Any snow that falls will melt rapidly, and the sandy soil dries out quickly.

Wildflowers will start to appear at lower elevations during March. April will bring the highest number of wildflower blossoms.

It is still too early to wade The Narrows, hike the Subway or do other trails that involve wading. Winter snowpack is at 150% or more in many areas in southern Utah and so streams will flow high and cold this spring. In Zion, runoff becomes heavy during March and April, and often continues well into May. This year it may be June before The Narrows open for casual hiking.

With all that snowpack, waterfalls will be impressive in the park this spring. Several waterfalls flow year-round and are located in places where they are easy to see. Many others are seasonal, channeling spring runoff over cliff faces. This year there will be a dozen or more beautiful waterfalls in Zion Canyon alone.

This is a great time of year to visit Zion Park.

- Dave Webb

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