Crews in Zion National Park were still working Friday to remove mud and debris from roadways and trails flooded this week by heavy rains.
The Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, the main east-west corridor that connects state Route 9 to state Route 89, remained closed as of the early afternoon, along with popular trails including Angels Landing.
Rain on Wednesday caused multiple mudslides and rockfalls, dropping mud and debris that was three to four feet deep in some parts of the highway, overwhelming drainage culverts and making the roadway impassable, according to a report issued shortly after noon Friday.
Initially on Wednesday there were dozens of vehicles stranded inside the 1.1-mile Zion-Mount Carmel tunnel, but road crews plowed a path that allowed the vehicles to get out that night.
Thursday was spent clearing debris, and the hope was to reopen the roadway by late Friday afternoon, according to the report.
Significant damage was reported on the Emerald Pools Trail complex. A 20-foot boulder fell on the trail near the Lower Emerald Pools Trail, and two retaining walls failed.
In the Refrigerator Canyon section of the West Rim Trail, a failed retaining wall left an 18-foot gap in the trail.
On the Kayenta Trail, heavy boulders crushed about 50 feet of trail. Kayenta, the Upper and Middle Emerald Pools and a small section of the Lower Emerald Pools trails were all closed pending repairs.
“Where the trails are extensively damaged we are looking for safe, temporary pathways to hopefully reopen them soon,” Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh said in a written statement Friday. “But some may not have re-route options given the terrain.”
Most other trails remain open and the park’s busy shuttle system is operating mostly normally, with the exception of the closed Grotto Shuttle Stop, according to the report.
The Riverside Walk, which had been closed since July 11 after a separate storm caused flooding and rockfalls, was reopened Friday.
Authorities reported that three wildfires had also started inside the park on Thursday, sparked by lightning, but each was only a few acres and the rainfall was expected to help crews contain and suppress all three.
Follow David DeMille on Twitter, @SpectrumDeMille.