Reopening of popular Zion National Park trail pushed back

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ZION NATIONAL PARK -- The full time reopening of a popular trail in Zion National Park has been pushed back.

Park supervisors say Observation Point trail will remain closed until October because of recent storms in southern Utah.

The rehabilitation project began in June and was expected to wrap up this week. Park spokeswoman Aly Baltrus said the two storms in the last month have put the park in major clean-up mode, and the trail crews responsible for the rehab have had to work clearing storm drains.

“We’ve had a lot of flooding,” Baltrus said. “All you have to do is come down here and see all the red mud on either side of the road.”

During the most recent storm that hit Sept. 9, the Virgin River rose from 174 cubic feet per second to 4,790 cps in a matter of hours. That made it the seventh highest rain total in a single day for the history of Zion Canyon.

The storms may have set the trail project back, but Baltrus said they’re continuing to push ahead. The purpose of the rehab is to reconstruct portions of the trail that were built in the 1920s.

It’s a multi-year project to reinforce retaining walls and improve the trail so it lasts another 100 years.

“As they’re going they’re repaving, they’re looking at the different retaining walls, trying to create gutters that pull water away from the trail,” Baltrus said.

Currently the Observation Point trail is closed on weekdays, but is expected to reopen full time on Oct. 3.