Erosion, Erosion, Erosion
Here in Southern Utah we have some pretty great scenery. And all of it – the narrow slot canyons, the sandstone monoliths, the natural arches and bridges, the sheer cliff walls, even the vast, shifting deserts – all of it was caused by the power of erosion. Wind, ice, sand, and rain have all had a hand in shaping the beauty of this area. And it just so happens that we are about to enter one of the biggest erosion periods of the year – the summer monsoon season.
Monsoons in the Desert?
Yep, we have a rainy season here in Southern Utah. It begins towards the end of July, when the temperature is hottest on the Colorado Plateau. The climate patterns, and increased evaporation, bring near-daily, afternoon rainstorms to Southern Utah. Which, in addition to the erosion, also brings life-sustaining moisture to the flora and fauna here. The season typically ends in mid-September.
So, what does this mean for your trip? If you’re visiting Capitol Reef, or any of the national and state parks of Southern Utah during the late summer, you need to be a little bit more prepared. Plan on doing your outdoor activities – hiking, biking, climbing, trail riding, whatever – in the mornings. The rains don’t arrive until about 2pm, so plan on wrapping up before that. (Including outdoor, uncovered picnics. Nobody wants a soggy sandwich.)
But if you do want to play in the afternoon rain, stay away from low-lying areas and canyons because of…
Summer rains bring an increased chance of flash floods. And those can be very, very dangerous. So stay on high ground when the rains start. And check with the visitor center of the park you’re visiting to get the best information on flooding in the area. Also, check out this site from weather.gov to see if there are flash flood warnings.
Most people never have problems with flash floods. Just be a little more cautious during this time, and enjoy the rains that make this place so wonderful.