Memorial Day Weekend is a time to honor the sacrifice of those who have fallen serving our country.

It marks the unofficial start of summer and is also Zion National Park’s busiest weekend.

Last year over 86,000 people visited over the four-day holiday weekend.

While the park is extending facility hours and increasing staff, visitors should expect crowded conditions and long lines.

Parking typically fills by 9:00 a.m., so visitors entering later should plan on parking in Springdale and walking or taking the free town shuttle to the River Entrance walk-in gate.

Beginning May 25th and running through Labor Day, the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and Wilderness Desk will extend hours until 7:00 p.m. The Human History Museum hours will increase to 9:00 a.m - 6:00 p.m. The Zion Nature Center, with all new hands-on exhibits and programs for children, will be open 1:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. every day except Saturdays when the building is open from 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Visitors who can be flexible with their schedule are encouraged to visit Friday or Monday rather than Saturday or Sunday, as well as consider arriving early or starting their visit after 3:00 p.m. to avoid the greatest crowding. “Visitors should come prepared, both for crowded conditions, and for the activities they are planning,” said Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh. “With a great many people visiting, please show additional patience with others and respectful trail etiquette. And remember that safety is your responsibility, so please avoid unsafe behaviors and risk-taking. Multiple emergencies are common during busy periods, stretching the availability of search and rescue, emergency medical and fire-fighting capabilities.”

This year park staff will also be managing the queue that forms at Scout Lookout for visitors wanting to hike Angels Landing. Last year during the Memorial Day Weekend, the line on Scout Lookout was one to two hours long, with many reports of visitors running out of water and feeling that the trail was too crowded, raising safety concerns. The evaporative toilets at Scouts Lookout were also well over capacity and pedestrian impacts to soils and vegetation resulted from crowding.

In 2019, due to storm damage and high water, closure of many other Zion Canyon trails is expected to exacerbate the congestion at Angels Landing. By moving the line to the West Rim trailhead at the Grotto, visitors will be able to use the water bottle refilling tap, flush toilets and extra port-a johns the park has located there, prior to starting their hike to Scout Lookout and Angels Landing. This shift in queuing will also allow park staff to field test results from a 2017 trail study to determine potential hourly thresholds on Angels Landing to minimize crowding and visitor’s discomfort with overcrowding on the narrow, cliff-exposed trail.

The study assessed visitors’ perceptions of safety and crowding on the popular trail and attitudes toward alternative strategies to manage visitor use. The NPS requests the public’s cooperation in managing crowding and safety concerns at Angels Landing and utilizing Leave No Trace practices throughout Zion National Park.

More From KDXU 890 & 92.5