SPRINGDALE, Utah (ABC4) — Certain climbing routes on cliffs in Zion National Park will be temporarily closed starting Wednesday due to nesting raptors.

According to the National Park Service, raptors are nesting on some cliffs in Zion, and should not be disturbed. Raptors are also known as ‘birds of prey,’ and may include California condors, and peregrine falcons.

“These birds are especially sensitive to being disturbed while they nest,” the email stated. “If disturbed, a nesting pair may abandon their nest site and not return until the following year.”

Portions of the following cliffs are closed effective March 1:

  • Angels Landing (hiking route remains open.)
  • Cable Mountain
  • The Great White Throne
  • Isaac (in Court of the Patriarchs)
  • The Sentinel
  • Mountain of the Sun
  • North Twin Brother
  • Tunnel Wall
  • The East Temple
  • Mount Spry
  • The Streaked Wall
  • Mount Kinesava

Zion National Park is home to many breeding peregrine falcons, which were once classified as an endangered species. The NPS stated that these birds were listed as an endangered species in 1970 and were eventually removed from the endangered species list in 1999.

According to NPS, the peregrine falcon’s population decline was partly due to DDT, which was an insecticide that caused the birds to produce thin-shelled eggs. Because of their thin shells, the eggs were easily broken and killed the developing embryo inside. However, due to the U.S. ban on DDT, as well as captive breeding programs, peregrine populations have grown across North America.

In order to continue protecting peregrine falcons, National Park Service temporarily closes climbing routes where the birds may build their nests.

“Zion National park has been and continues to be an important sanctuary for peregrines and many other wildlife species,” the press release stated.

The NPS reminded climbers that all other cliffs will remain open to climbing. To see specific closures and maps of cliff-specific closure boundaries you can download the 2023 Guide to Zions National Park’s Season Raptor Closures.

The NPS said that the beginning of the season will have broader areas for closure so that raptors get a choice in selecting suitable nest areas. And as the season progresses, NPS will monitor the areas, locate nests, and reopen climbing cliffs where raptors did not build nests. The date for cliff reopenings varies from year to year, but NPS said it typically ranges from late spring to summer.

The NPS will also update their Season Climbing Closures webpage as areas re-open to climbers.