Another Fatality at AL

SteveR

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Sep 22, 2016
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Glad we went there on our second desert trip in October 2005! I recall the trail being a bit busy, but there were only a couple of others at the top during the 45 minutes or so that we spent eating lunch. We returned to Zion in 2014 and noted how much busier it was, prompting more time spent on the eastside, and in neighbouring areas out of the park.
Agreed @IntrepidXJ. From articles I have read, many people felt that going outdoors was a great way to be active and still socially distance. I am hoping that once the shutdown eases, everyone goes back to the pavement.
Here in Alberta, over the past 5 years we had noticed a steady increase in visitation to both the tourist spots and backcountry in the nearby national parks (Banff, Kootenay, Yoho) as well as in provincial parks and pretty much anywhere else offering outdoor recreational opportunities. Covid accelerated that, but I'm not convinced that things will subside much in the future.
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
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Jan 4, 2015
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I'm conflicted. On one hand, I enjoy quiet trails and solitude more than most. On the other hand, I really believe that getting outdoors can really improve people's lives in a way that going to Disneyland cannot. In principle, I want as many people to get outside as often as possible - to see all these incredible things that form our national heritage. I want people to camp at the Devils Garden CG and roast smores and spend quality time together without the distraction of cell service. I want people to visit the Emerald Pools. So I guess my take is - if crowded parks are the price we have to pay to have more people getting outside - a few whose lives will undoubtedly be transformed by the experience - then I think I'm willing to accept the tradeoff.

Thankfully, there are still loads of places that aren't overrun. For every Coyote Gulch, there are ten Escalante canyons nearly as spectacular that see absolutely nobody.
 

ramblinman

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Aug 26, 2014
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Appreciate your post @LarryBoy. More people getting outdoors is a good thing. Sometimes people need help learning best practices and leave no trace (I know I did), and it seems like that's the best place to channel one's energy, rather than wishing others would stop coming to the wilderness. I find that strange because presumably we were all introduced to wilderness by some person or group, and we are all probably deeply grateful to those people. In turn, it's fun to help introduce others to the wild places one holds dear.
 

Janice

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Dec 5, 2017
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not a super long line at the trailhead, but it will be very busy up the chain part. My tip is to go early and get the earliest shuttle tickets possible. Or ride a bicycle to the trailhead.
Observation Point will be closed indefinitely as the rockfall is still active and unstable. There is still a bus-sized piece of rocks that can come down any time. Best bet to do Observation Point is hiking it from the East Side, but this of the year it can be a hit and miss due to extremely muddy and snowy roads. Especially if going in via the East Mesa trail, the last mile is extremely rough and right now inaccessible due to snow and mud.
I went and hiked some of the East Rim a few days ago and it had 6-8 inches of snow.
Thank you so much for all of this helpful info - I'll pass it along. Cool idea to bike to the AL trailhead - they definitely could do that!
 

zionsky

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Dec 23, 2018
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Best bet to do Observation Point is hiking it from the East Side, but this of the year it can be a hit and miss due to extremely muddy and snowy roads. Especially if going in via the East Mesa trail, the last mile is extremely rough and right now inaccessible due to snow and mud.
Sometimes a kind soul at the ponderosa resort will put a sign out warning the east rim access roads are impassable but definitely wouldn't try them right after a rain/snow event.
 

Rockskipper

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A major newspaper had an article yesterday encouraging everyone to go to the national parks.
 

Yvonne

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A major newspaper had an article yesterday encouraging everyone to go to the national parks.
we don't need any more people in the parks, we can barely handle the crowds we have now.
Since COVID visitation just exploded and many of these new national park visitors just do not know how to behave.
Trash, graffiti, human waste has increased tenfold since last year.
I think part of the problem is that these new park visitors who normally go to Disneyland or other fun parks simply have no idea what leave no trace is.
Just today I had about 80% of visitors at the visitor center that were totally unprepared for everything. They had no clue about anything.
This also adds to the fact you'll have more incidents of any kind
 

Kmatjhwy

Wilderness Wanderer
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Sep 23, 2016
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Now the last time I was here in Zion, this Angels Landing Trail was being hammered. No Way doing it anymore. And this was before the Covid mess. Anymore after Scouts Lookout, no to Angels Landing and keeping on the trail towards the West Rim. Now with all of these deaths, I would not be surprised if the park does something.

Do think one reason why the West is being hammered with people during Covid is because all the foreign travel and such is shutdown like IntrepidXJ said above.
 

Kmatjhwy

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Sep 23, 2016
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Here in the front country, the Parks and Forests are being hammered. But a few years ago, wayyy back in the Deep Wilds, there would be nobody. It was too far for cellphone coverage. One saw old campsites being covered in grass and old trails and routes being overgrown. Have heard the agencies more and more are sending their rangers to cover the front country where most everyone goes, stays, and hikes. But not to the way way way back places. Many people are actually afraid of the Deep Deep Back Wilds it seems anymore. One big reason is the Lions Tigers And Bears O My syndrome. And look at it, most people in this country live in big cities anymore and that is all all they know.

Just my opinion.
 
Last edited:

Janice

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Dec 5, 2017
Messages
341
not a super long line at the trailhead, but it will be very busy up the chain part. My tip is to go early and get the earliest shuttle tickets possible. Or ride a bicycle to the trailhead.
Observation Point will be closed indefinitely as the rockfall is still active and unstable. There is still a bus-sized piece of rocks that can come down any time. Best bet to do Observation Point is hiking it from the East Side, but this of the year it can be a hit and miss due to extremely muddy and snowy roads. Especially if going in via the East Mesa trail, the last mile is extremely rough and right now inaccessible due to snow and mud.
I went and hiked some of the East Rim a few days ago and it had 6-8 inches of snow.
They definitely like the idea of biking to the trailhead. But if AL isn't a possibility, do you know what the Kolob Canyon area is like right now? Do you recommend that for a day hike?
 

regehr

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Mar 28, 2012
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They definitely like the idea of biking to the trailhead. But if AL isn't a possibility, do you know what the Kolob Canyon area is like right now? Do you recommend that for a day hike?
The Kolob side is wonderful, but we spend most of our time on the east side. Main canyon has been getting harder to enjoy for years now, we've almost not bothered since about 2010.
Bo and Tanya's site covers all parts of Zion and the surrounding area and their info is usually very good. http://www.zionnational-park.com/hiking-zion-national-park.htm
 

swmalone

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Apr 27, 2016
Messages
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we don't need any more people in the parks, we can barely handle the crowds we have now.
Since COVID visitation just exploded and many of these new national park visitors just do not know how to behave.
Trash, graffiti, human waste has increased tenfold since last year.
I think part of the problem is that these new park visitors who normally go to Disneyland or other fun parks simply have no idea what leave no trace is.
Just today I had about 80% of visitors at the visitor center that were totally unprepared for everything. They had no clue about anything.
This also adds to the fact you'll have more incidents of any kind

A place I fish had the road closed down this summer due to people trashing it and leaving unattended fires during a red warning. The forest ranger I spoke with told me that one group he was attempting to educate about leave no trace actually told him that they thought part of the ranger's job was to come in and clean up after they left and before the next group arrived.

I like others am torn. I love taking people to the places I love spending time in and want others to see them, I also enjoy the solitude and luckily can usually find it without to much trouble. The frustrating part is seeing all of the increased trash, graffiti, etc.
 

Yvonne

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Jan 19, 2012
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They definitely like the idea of biking to the trailhead. But if AL isn't a possibility, do you know what the Kolob Canyon area is like right now? Do you recommend that for a day hike?
Kolob is great, I might check it out again tomorrow if the storm isn't too bad. Expect snow in the higher elevations and shady spots. La Verkin Creek area should be snow-free. I'm backpacking there on April 8 and can report back either the next few days or after my backpacking trip.
Good trails up there is Kolob Arch, Middle Fork of Taylor Creek.
Or from Kolob Terrace do the trail from Hop Valley trailhead to Northgate Peaks via Connector trail which is an 11-mile hike.
 

Janice

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Dec 5, 2017
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Kolob is great, I might check it out again tomorrow if the storm isn't too bad. Expect snow in the higher elevations and shady spots. La Verkin Creek area should be snow-free. I'm backpacking there on April 8 and can report back either the next few days or after my backpacking trip.
Good trails up there is Kolob Arch, Middle Fork of Taylor Creek.
Or from Kolob Terrace do the trail from Hop Valley trailhead to Northgate Peaks via Connector trail which is an 11-mile hike.
Thanks for the info. They'll be there at the end of March, so if you have any updates in the next few days that will be great. I'm sure others will appreciate your post-backpacking report no matter what!
 

Janice

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Dec 5, 2017
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Thanks for the info. They'll be there at the end of March, so if you have any updates in the next few days that will be great. I'm sure others will appreciate your post-backpacking report no matter what!
Just heard from my friends - they had a spectacular day in Zion and biking worked out perfectly for them. Thank you again, @Yvonne, for the advice!
 
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