GUNLOCK, Utah (ABC4) — Washington County deputies are increasing patrol around Gunlock State Park as visitors flock to witness its flowing waterfalls, an extremely rare occurrence as it had only happened a handful of times in the last decade.
“We invite visitors to enjoy this wonderful experience, but want to remind the public to
exercise vigilance and safety in the area,” said Gunlock State Park Manager Jon Allred.
“There is inherent risk when recreating outdoors, so safety and situational awareness
Aside from patrols, park officials have also posted caution signs along trails and on visitors not to get too close to the waterfalls. With slick rocks and strong water currents, visitors are at risk of slipping and falling into the streams.
“A picture is not worth risking your life,” Allred said. “We want you to enjoy your visit, but we also need you to be cautious.”
According to park officials, the waterfalls are part of a spillway and will only flow when the reservoir reaches capacity. The water will then flow down the Santa Clara River and join the Virgin River.
The waterfalls were stopped in 2020 and didn’t flow in 2021 either because of low water levels and snowpack. According to the National Water and Climate Center, the snowpack in southwestern Utah is 227% of the average snow water equivalent.
Gunlock State Park is located about 15 miles northwest of St. George, right by a 266-acre reservoir. The reservoir dam was built in 1970 for irrigation water and flood control.
The Park is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Entrance fees are $15 for an out-of-state vehicle day pass and $10 for a Utah resident vehicle day pass. Visitors can reserve a campsite on the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources’ website.
The park may reach its visitor capacity. When that happens, park officials will make the announcement on its website and Facebook page.