ZION NATIONAL PARK — In order to mitigate overcrowding, park officials will move the line to hike Angels Landing to the West Rim trailhead at the Grotto over Memorial Day weekend.
According to park officials, hikers last year stood in line at Scout Lookout one to two hours, with many reports of visitors running out of water and feeling that the trail was too crowded, raising safety concerns. In addition, the evaporative toilets at the site were also well over capacity and pedestrians caused negative impacts to soils and vegetation.
Park official say moving the line will allow visitors to use the water bottle refilling tap, flush toilets and extra Porta-Johns located there.
Storms and high water this year have forced the closure of many other trails in the park, which is expected to exacerbate the congestion at Angels Landing.
This shift will also allow park staff to field test results from a 2017 trail study to determine potential hourly thresholds on Angels Landing to minimize crowding and visitor’s discomfort with overcrowding on the narrow, cliff-exposed trail.
The study assessed visitors’ perceptions of safety and crowding on the popular trail and attitudes toward alternative strategies to manage visitor use.
In addition, the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and Wilderness Desk will extend hours until 7 p.m. beginning May 25 through Labor Day. The Human History Museum will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the Zion Nature Center, with all new hands-on exhibits and programs for children, will be open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Saturdays, when the building is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.1 comment on this story
Visitors to the park who can be flexible with their schedule are encouraged to come Friday or Monday rather than Saturday or Sunday, as well as consider arriving early or after 3 p.m. to avoid the greatest crowding.
Last year over 86,000 people visited over the four-day holiday weekend. While the park is extending facility hours and increasing staff, visitors should expect crowded conditions and long lines. Parking typically fills by 9 a.m., so visitors entering later should plan on parking in Springdale and walking or taking the free town shuttle to the walk-in gate.