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Tourists from across America and around the world marvel at flash flooding at Zion National Park

Posted at 10:09 PM, Jul 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-13 00:09:55-04

ZION NATIONAL PARK, Utah -- The rain made a mess on trails throughout Zion National Park, causing mud and rock slides Wednesday and Thursday.

Pictures taken by park rangers show popular hikes like the Emerald Pools blocked off by boulders and trees. That's just one of many trails and roads closed by flash floods, including the Zion Narrows and all slot canyons.

Those hikes are the reason people travel to the park from all over the world.

“We got caught up in the rain by the mountain we didn't expect that,” said a member of the Gottleib Family from Denmark.

As the river roared and rushed on, hikers rushed down the trails but by the time they got to the shuttle bus they were soaked and muddy.

“Wet, soaked and muddy all over,” Gottleib said. “It was so great it was such an adventure all this rain and thundering a bit too much unfortunately but it was pretty fun.”

Tourists from around the world did not get the Zion experience they expected when the flash floods hit.

“Lo and behold there were waterfalls in Zion National Park,” said Jack Derham of California.

Water flowing off the steep red rock walls is beautiful, but several inches of rain in a matter of hours left a mess of mud and closed off access to world famous trails like Angels Landing.

“All of us had been really looking forward to that so that was really a disappointment yes,” said Nicolas Skaanild of Denmark

Besides not being able to go on the hikes, Skaanild and his family got stuck on a bus Wednesday night when the roads were first blocked with mud and debris.

“We were sitting in the bus and the bus was leaking and we were all soaked," Skaanild said. "There wasn't a single dry spot in the bus."

The sun went down as they waited patiently with rangers for crews to clear the road.

“After sitting in the bus for an hour we could see the lights from the bulldozers clearing the road first they went past us,” Skaanild said.

The family's second day didn't go much better with most all the trails closed and the few that were open were very crowded.

While it's not the trip they expected it will be a vacation to remember.

“So we got soaked and it was worth it there was a big overture and I'll never forget it,” Gottleib said.

So far there have been no injuries due to the flooding or slides as crews work to clean everything up.

Zion officials will have a better idea tomorrow of what trails will be closed or open.