Zion National Park visitation continues to climb, sets summer record

(Al Hartmann | Tribune file photo) Hikers rest on the Angel's Landing trail in Zion National Park in 2009.

St. George • Zion National Park visitation set records this summer, averaging more than a half-million visitors per month.

The Spectrum newspaper in St. George reports that yearly park visitors have more than doubled over the past decade at the southern Utah park known for its red-rock cliffs and narrow slot canyons.

Park officials have been struggling how to handle the crowds, and this year limited the number of people who could hike two of the most popular trails on holidays. Park spokesman Eugenne Moisa says visitors to Angels Landing and the Narrows were kept waiting in the shade, instead of on the narrow, sunny trails.

The nonprofit Zion Forever Project is also accepting donations to expand access to the east side of the park in hopes of dispersing visitors to that less-visited area.