Memorial Day Weekend is a time that we take as a nation to honor and remember the sacrifices of all those who gave the ultimate price while serving our country. Over the years it has marked the unofficial start to Summer and has become one of the busiest weekends for Zion National Park.
Memorial Day Weekend in 2018 brought over 86,000 visitors during the four-day holiday weekend. This year park officials are anticipating similar crowds. While the park is increasing staffing and extending facility hours, those visiting the park this weekend should expect crowded conditions, long lines, and parking filling up by 9 a.m. Anyone arriving past 9 a.m. should plan on parking in Springdale and walking into the park or take advantage of the free shuttle that they city offers to the River Entrance walk-in-gate.
The following hour adjustments will be in effect May 25th – 27th:
- The Zion Canyon Visitor Center will remain open until 7 p.m.
- The Wilderness Desk will remain open until 7 p.m.
- The Human History Museum will be open from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- The Zion Nation Center, including a few new hands-on exhibits and programs for children, will stay open from 1 p.m.- 6 p.m., excluding Saturday when their hours are from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Guests who have more flexibility in their schedule to visit the park are encouraged to do so on Friday or Monday, rather than Saturday or Sunday, to help avoid extreme crowding. It is recommended that guests should arrive early to the park or postpone visiting until after 3 p.m.
Park Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh stated, “Visitors should come prepared, both for crowded conditions, and for the activities they are planning. With a great many people visiting, please show additional patience with others and respectful trail etiquette. And remember that safety is your responsibility, so please avoid unsafe behaviors and risk-taking. Multiple emergencies are common during busy periods, stretching the availability of search and rescue, emergency medical and fire-fighting capabilities.”
Changes to Expect This Memorial Day Weekend
To help ease congestion at the popular hike Angels Landing, staff will be managing the queue that starts at Scouts Lookout this year. Last year during Memorial Day Weekend, the average wait time at Scout Lookout was between one to two hours long, leaving guests out of water and raising safety concerns.
With current trail closures in effect from this year’s high rain season, park officials are expecting them to exacerbate the congestion already found at Angels Landing. In hopes to help ease the efforts the line to access Scout Lookout will be moved to the West Rim Trailhead at the Grotto. The moving of this line will help ensure that visitors have access to a bottle refilling tag as well as flush toilets and extra port-a-johns before starting the section of Scout Lookout. The change will also allow park staff field test results from a trail study taken in 2017 to help determine if hourly thresholds on Angels Landing will help minimize crowding issues and help improve visitor experience over all. Park Officials ask that the public be understanding and cooperative as they try to manage crowding and safety concerns at Angels Landing.
Trail Closures this Memorial Day Weekend
The Narrows remain closed due to snowmelt. Until the flow rate of the river can drop below 150 Cubic Feet per Second (CFS) for 24 consecutive hours, the narrows will not reopen.
Observation Point remains closed from Weeping Rock due to a landslide earlier this year. While alternate trailheads are available, many times they are found unfeasible.
Hidden Canyon, Upper Emerald Pools & Kayenta
Hidden Canyon, Upper Emerald Pools, and Kayenta trails remain closed due to 2018 landslides. These slides have continued to settle in several areas, making the trails unstable.
With this weekend kicking off the start to the Summer season at Zion, it is important to remember that each and every visitor has an impact on the park. You get to decide what kind of impact you will leave on Zion National Park.
The Zion National Park Pledge is a personal promise you can make to protect yourself and the park.
To be a good steward and help protect myself and Zion National Park, I pledge to:
-Plan ahead and prepare by reading and following the information in the park newspaper.
-Keep personal food away from all wildlife, and never approach or touch a wild animal.
-Protect the canyon walls, rocks, and trees from graffiti and vandalism.
-Preserve the park scenery by not collecting wildflowers, rocks, or plants.
-Never enter a narrow canyon when there is a potential for flash flooding.
-Be ready to pack out my human waste, toilet paper, and diapers from trails and river corridors.
-Stay on established trails to protect vegetation and fragile cryptobiotic soils.
-Leave rocks as I find them and not stack rock cairns or build river dams.
-Protect the natural sounds of the canyon by talking softly and using headphones for music.
-Recycle what I can and dispose of my trash and food appropriately.
-Park in designated areas and avoid blocking traffic.
Help those around you this Memorial Day Weekend experience the best of Zion National Park .