OUTDOORS + RECREATION

Rain has closed America’s driest, hottest national park

Sep 7, 2023, 8:00 AM

A view of flooding caused by heavy rain is seen in Gower Gulch near Zabriskie Point in Death Valley...

A view of flooding caused by heavy rain is seen in Gower Gulch near Zabriskie Point in Death Valley National Park on August 20. Death Valley is the driest national park in the United States, receiving an average of about 2.2 inches of rain a year. Photo credit: National Park Service/Handout/Reuters

(CNN) — Death Valley is the driest national park in the United States, receiving an average of about 2.2 inches of rain a year. It’s also regarded as the hottest place on Earth.

So it might come as a bit of a shock to learn the park been closed for more than two weeks – but not from all this excessive heat we’ve suffered through this summer. It’s the rainy remnants of Hurricane Hilary (remember that storm?) that are the culprit.

On August 20, some 2.2 inches (55.88 mm) of rain was measured at Furnace Creek in Death Valley, making it the all-time wettest day recorded for that location, the National Park Service said in a recent news release.

The storm dumped so much rain on a park that gets so little that it left the fragile landscape in rough shape. “Extensive damage including undercutting and pavement loss has been found on major roads in the park and many roads are covered with debris,” the release said.

A repeat of flooding damage

This is the second year in a row this has happened. Then-record rainfall in August 2022 also closed up the park while workers made repairs to roads, trails and facilities.

And now all that work begins yet again. “Although all paved roads were repaired from the 2022 flood damage, there is still a lot of work to be done in the backcountry and this latest storm caused significant additional damage,” the NPS said.

This current closure has no end in sight. On its Facebook page on Labor Day, the park said, “Given the scope of the impacts from Tropical Storm Hilary, and the widespread debris on roads and areas of pavement damage, we don’t yet have a timeline for when the roads will reopen.”

If you’re looking for a national park desert escape, Joshua Tree National Park to the south is open. And in a reminder of how extreme desert country can be, there was fire ban in place there on Wednesday evening.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Outdoors + Recreation

Exercise particularly reduced risk of death for women, according to the data....

Madeline Holcombe, CNN

Women might lower their risk for cardiovascular disease by twice the amount as men with exercise

The benefits of exercise are great for everyone – but may be even better for women, according to a new study.

20 hours ago

Catherine Rigby dies in avalanche...

Associated Press

Catherine ‘Kasha’ Rigby, a renowned telemark skier, dies in avalanche in Kosovo

Renowned skier and Utah resident, Catherine 'Kasha' Rigby died in an avalanche in Kosovo. She was 54 years old.

2 days ago

The first thing Sheriden wants you to consider is to only plant what you know you will eat. (Canva)...

Michelle Lee

Tips for gardening efficiently in small spaces

If you live on a small property, it can be challenging to build a nice, substantial garden for yourself. Fortunately, Horticulturist Sheriden Hansen has some tips.

5 days ago

three skiers on lift shown, snow in utah expected today...

Peter Johnston

Skiers rejoice! A foot of snow is coming to the northern Wasatch Mountains

Brighton, Park City and Solitude will see more than a foot of snow drop today, according to Ski Utah.

5 days ago

Difficult terrain signs read "John Paul," "Wildflower Downhill," and "Grizzly Downhill," directing ...

Mariah Maynes

Man dies as a result of injures from skiing off cliff outside Snowbasin

The skier was in the Mt. Ogden Bowl which features access to extreme cliffs, according to local officials.

8 days ago

Snow covers the mountains during an early season snowstorm in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Thursday,...

Mariah Maynes

One injured in skier-triggered avalanche in Little Cottonwood Canyon

A skier-triggered avalanche injured one skier in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Sunday. 

9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Rain has closed America’s driest, hottest national park