Arches and Canyonlands national parks are expecting record visitation during Utah public schools’ fall recess of Utah public schools associated with the annual Utah Educators Association (UEA) Convention and Education Exposition. Officials are advising visitors to expect heavy traffic, crowded trails and limited parking from Thursday, Oct. 20, through Sunday, Oct. 23.
UEA weekend 2015 saw visitation jump 15 percent over the preceding four-day weekend, resulting in overflowing parking lots and long waits at entrance stations. Traffic at Arches during such busy time frames can back up onto U.S. Highway 191, creating a serious safety hazard. In addition, vehicles in the entrance line at the Island in the Sky District at Canyonlands National Park frequently experience long wait times as visitors bypass the lines at Arches and head to Canyonlands instead.
During the UEA weekend, park officials recommend that visitors enter the parks before 9 a.m. or after noon to avoid entry line wait times that may exceed one hour.
To help minimize wait time at the parks’ entrance stations, park officials ask that vehicles keep pace with traffic in the line. Current pass holders and returning visitors should have passes and identification ready. Credit cards are preferred for buying new passes.
If the parks reach capacity or entry lines into Arches begin to impact traffic on 191, vehicles may be restricted from entering until space becomes available.
For tips on driving your car in Arches National Park and links to park entrance road and U.S. 191 web cams, go to www.nps.gov/arch/planyourvisit/traffic.htm.
Visitors can expect long waits during school holiday