Zion West Rim Trail, Early April 2019

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monica

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Nov 26, 2018
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We have permits for the West Rim Trail in Zion starting on April 2 (one night in Wildcat Canyon and another on the West Rim). Given the high snow this year, I'm wondering if anyone has been up on the West Rim in recent days and what the conditions might be? I was hoping for a pleasant two-night backpack and don't mind some cold and snow but not severe winter type conditions. Thanks in advance for any input or advice.
Monica
 

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monica

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Thanks for the quick reply and yes, i will definitely contact the Wilderness Desk before we leave.
 

Yvonne

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there is still a lot of snow on the higher elevations above Wildcat and the road is still closed at the turnaround for the snowmobiles about 1.5 miles below West Rim.
I can't tell yet where the snow starts on the West Rim above Scout's Overlook, but I will do a scouting trip all the way up to Telephone Canyon and to the Spring either Thursday or Friday, depending on the weather.
You definitely want to bring some sort of microspikes and gaiters and might encounter soft slushy snow and mud up on the plateau.
I don't think you need snowshoes as it warms up pretty good this week, this will melt quite a bit of the snowpack.
Remind me next week so I can update you on the conditions.

And a reminder, the backcountry office is only open 8-noon until May, so any questions you'll have you need to call during this time and also permits can only be picked up from 8-noon
 

monica

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there is still a lot of snow on the higher elevations above Wildcat and the road is still closed at the turnaround for the snowmobiles about 1.5 miles below West Rim.
I can't tell yet where the snow starts on the West Rim above Scout's Overlook, but I will do a scouting trip all the way up to Telephone Canyon and to the Spring either Thursday or Friday, depending on the weather.
You definitely want to bring some sort of microspikes and gaiters and might encounter soft slushy snow and mud up on the plateau.
I don't think you need snowshoes as it warms up pretty good this week, this will melt quite a bit of the snowpack.
Remind me next week so I can update you on the conditions.

And a reminder, the backcountry office is only open 8-noon until May, so any questions you'll have you need to call during this time and also permits can only be picked up from 8-noon
 

monica

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Thank you so much, Yvonne, for the info. We are flying from Vermont and I would love to leave the snowshoes home if we can. I look forward to your scouting report.
 

Carcass

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There is another storm system moving in tonight at Zion. Chances of rain the next 4 days. No snow in the forecast. Just rain and some lightning.
 

ReidAS

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It's really beautiful doing that route in the snow though. There are some sections that are pretty exposed (although it was safe enough when we did it).
Hi Mike, is this picture actually from just this past week?

I talked to an outfitter at Zion today who said they had just been on the Wildcat Canyon trail recently and did it with snowshoes since there were multiple feet of snow left. And that up on the plateau the storm is likely to bring a bunch of snow rather than the rain they'll get in the canyon.
 

Mike K

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Hi Mike, is this picture actually from just this past week?

I talked to an outfitter at Zion today who said they had just been on the Wildcat Canyon trail recently and did it with snowshoes since there were multiple feet of snow left. And that up on the plateau the storm is likely to bring a bunch of snow rather than the rain they'll get in the canyon.
No, not a recent picture. Sorry, I didn't think that it might cause confusion. This picture was from early 2000's I believe. I'll tag @monica to make sure she sees this...
 

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ReidAS

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E-mail I got from the park rangers this morning (March 21):

Hello,

This trail is covered in 1-3 feet of snow and more in higher areas. No one has been successful in a traverse so far. Post holing in snow shoes has made the trek too difficult for hikers. There have been route finding problems as well.
It is currently snowing in this area now.

Thank you,
Zion National Park.
 

monica

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Wow, thanks so much everyone for the up to date news. I look forward to hearing the latest, Yvonne, after your scouting trip. I was hopeful but now think that we may need to shift gears and consider alternatives. Mother nature always has the upper hand!
 

Yvonne

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Wow, thanks so much everyone for the up to date news. I look forward to hearing the latest, Yvonne, after your scouting trip. I was hopeful but now think that we may need to shift gears and consider alternatives. Mother nature always has the upper hand!
it has been an extremely snowy winter down here. Zion's snowpack is about 200% compared to last year. I would consider having a plan B unless you want to bring snowshoes and are comfortable hiking in snow. Unfortunately, the temperatures are also way below normal for quite a while and we have a lot of cloudy days so the snow does not melt as fast as it used to.
 

LarryBoy

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Are they issuing permits for the narrows, given the recent private land issues? One would think they wouldn't be issuing whitewater permits if they're not also issuing hiking permits when the river is lower...
 

Yvonne

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Are they issuing permits for the narrows, given the recent private land issues? One would think they wouldn't be issuing whitewater permits if they're not also issuing hiking permits when the river is lower...
The private land issue was set on hold at one point last year and overnight permits are issued.
The Narrows are closed today due to the high flow rate and will probably close a lot in the next few weeks because of snowmelt and high flow rates.
So if you want to you could still do a Narrows overnight trip, but I don't think you can even get to that trailhead right now because of the snow up high. The road is plowed on the paved part to Ponderosa Ranch, but everything past that you'll probably have troubles getting anywhere. I heard about several failed attempts where someone wanted to get to East Mesa Road and got stuck. I guess we just need to be really patient this Spring.

I'm also itching to get out and hike to Observation Point from East Mesa road or the East Rim trail, but I guess I have to bring snowshoes and do it as a super long winter hike. I don't mind coming back in the dark, all my tours in Hawai'i were in the dark so I'm okay with that.
I'll just see what next week brings and eventually check it out as well
 

Carcass

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The private land issue was set on hold at one point last year and overnight permits are issued.
The Narrows are closed today due to the high flow rate and will probably close a lot in the next few weeks because of snowmelt and high flow rates.
So if you want to you could still do a Narrows overnight trip, but I don't think you can even get to that trailhead right now because of the snow up high. The road is plowed on the paved part to Ponderosa Ranch, but everything past that you'll probably have troubles getting anywhere. I heard about several failed attempts where someone wanted to get to East Mesa Road and got stuck. I guess we just need to be really patient this Spring.

I'm also itching to get out and hike to Observation Point from East Mesa road or the East Rim trail, but I guess I have to bring snowshoes and do it as a super long winter hike. I don't mind coming back in the dark, all my tours in Hawai'i were in the dark so I'm okay with that.
I'll just see what next week brings and eventually check it out as well
East Mesa trail to Observation Point will be easy since its pretty much level until the last half- mile or so. I did it last February, as well,as Cable Mountain. Big difference this year though. Only had a little mud last year.
 

Yvonne

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East Mesa trail to Observation Point will be easy since its pretty much level until the last half- mile or so. I did it last February, as well,as Cable Mountain. Big difference this year though. Only had a little mud last year.
not with waist deep snow drifts that are still there. So snowshoes for sure. And no one of our staff has been up there yet and has an actual trail report, so I guess I should go and check it out.
I usually do East Mesa trail to Observation Point as a quick sunset hike and come back in the dark. It's a nice little hike and no pressure to catch the last shuttle. At the moment there is simply no way to get to the trailhead so it adds additional miles to snowshoe in and out
 

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