OUTDOORS & RECREATION

Visitors warned about new underwater dangers at Gunlock waterfalls

Mar 8, 2024, 6:26 PM | Updated: Mar 9, 2024, 11:35 am

SALT LAKE CITY — The incredible images of the water spilling over Gunlock Reservoir are already coming in.

It’s a sight that attracts thousands of visitors each time it happens.

Before you head to southern Utah to see the falls, a warning about the hidden dangers.

Visitors often underestimate the power of the water or the hidden dangers below it.

“The falls are beautiful, they’re nice to look at,” said Sgt. Darrell Cashin with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

For the second year in a row, a good snow season has led to this spectacular sight at Gunlock State Park, and for a second year in a row – rescuers are preparing for an influx of calls.

“I understand the draw to them,” Cashin said. “Once the falls start and everybody finds out that’s when we’ll start having the rescues out there.”

In 2023 rescuers were called six times in just the first three weeks the water was active.

Cashin said, “Those were injuries range from the typical slipping and falling, broken ankle, broken knee, to people falling or jumping off there.”

One rescue involved a 12-year-old girl pulled unconscious from the water.

Another man later slipped into the falls and was revived by good samaritans.

“It doesn’t take much water to sweep you off of your feet so you’ve got to watch the flows,” Cashin warned.

He said visitors need to be extra cautious because of new dangers lurking under the water this year, especially in the big pools.

He said jumping in them could be deadly.

“I know of one large boulder in there and I heard that another one fell in not too long ago, and it’s under the water, couple feet – you can’t see it until you hit it,” Cashin said.

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Visitors warned about new underwater dangers at Gunlock waterfalls