Roads closed in Capitol Reef National Park due to flooding

Sep 21, 2022, 6:40 PM | Updated: 10:59 pm

CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK — There was plenty of rain out in Central Utah today. Clouds hung low and covered the mountains.

Heavy rain is always a concern in this area because of the washes and slot canyons: today, park managers closed a good chunk of the park to visitors because of those concerns.

Jay Nigro, a resident of Rochester, New York,  was visiting Capitol Reef National Park today. For many visitors, there’s a lot to photograph.

“For me, we’d stop every five feet,” he laughed. “Ha! That type of thing. Some spots it looks like you can see carvings almost.”

Today, he was able to capture something else many visitors don’t normally see here: water, and lots of it.

“It’s absolutely gorgeous,” he said. “The ranger, he came and said we won’t be able to take the trail today. It was washed out earlier.”

Grand Wash is usually dry, but whenever the area sees lots of rainstorms, no doubt the wash is going to start filling up.

“You have to be safe,” Nigro said.

Because of all the rain, and flood watch concerns, the main Scenic Drive in Capitol Reef was closed.

There was some water flowing over the road, and even though it’s paved, it does lead to many dirt roads that were also washed out in many spots.

“Crews are always out checking for the safety, checking for the conditions, and if water flows and debris have crossed the road, they want to get out and clear that,” Shauna Cotrell, Chief of Interpretation at Capitol Reef National Park said.

It meant visitors had to find something else to do in the area, but everyone KSL TV spoke with understood the need to be safe.

“Makes you want to come back and maybe see something in more detail, see the whole park next time, but this time it’s just see what we see,” Beryl Collins, a resident of Dayton, Ohio said.

“There will be other places and there will be other times. We might come back tomorrow and see if it’s any better, but we have to be careful,” Nigro said.

As for tomorrow, park managers say it’s too early to know for sure if Scenic Drive will reopen for visitors. More rain is expected.

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Roads closed in Capitol Reef National Park due to flooding