GUNLOCK, Utah (ABC4) – The waterfalls at Gunlock State Park are expected to make a rare appearance later this month as the temperatures warm up and snow begins to melt into the reservoir.
Located just northwest of St. George, Gunlock State Park encompasses the beautiful area around the Gunlock Reservoir. The reservoir serves the community as the perfect place for residents to boat, fish, swim, or just hang out on the reservoir’s beach.
The waterfalls are a sight to behold and continue to be an attraction at Gunlock State Park when water overflows at the reservoir. State Park officials said the waterfalls have become a rare occurrence, only happening a handful of times within the last decade.
“When the reservoir fills quickly, the additional water flows over the dam and spills down the cliffside, creating waterfalls,” Gunlock State Park officials said in a release. “The water then flows down the Santa Clara River where it joins the Virgin River.”
Due to Utah’s heavy snowfall this last winter season, the snowpack in the area is at 227%, according to the Utah Division of Water Resources. Once that snow starts melting and flowing into the Gunlock Reservoir, it is expected to overflow, causing the waterfalls to begin falling. The Department of Natural Resources says the current water level at the reservoir is at 70%.
With the sudden rise of water, State Park officials are expecting an increase in visitors. Especially as the waterfalls were stopped in the wake of COVID in 2020 and didn’t flow again in 2021 due to low snow levels. Due to the expected rise in both visitors and water levels, officials are reminding the public to be safe when visiting the waterfalls.
“Rocks are slick, water is swift, and covered hazards exist in the pools,” said officials in a release. “We strongly encourage visitors to use caution and be observant in the area.”
Gunlock State Park officials have posted caution signs along trails and on the dam to remind visitors of the park’s inherent dangers. Park staff and rangers are also planning to patrol the area more often, to not only keep visitors safe but to talk with them about the park.
If the park does reach visitor capacity, park officials will not admit new visitors until it is under capacity again. Park Officials recommend visiting the Gunlock State Park website or Facebook page to get the latest park status.