Utah State Parks Blog

Safety at the Gunlock State Park Waterfalls

UPDATE 3/14/2023:

As spring runoff accelerates, it will likely bring down debris, including tree limbs, rocks and dirt, which will accumulate near the top of the dam and spillway. Debris flow presents safety hazards for park visitors and the dam. If debris accumulates, crews will remove it as quickly as possible, which will require visitors to stay clear of the area. The falls will still be viewable, but visitors will not be allowed in the immediate area until work concludes.

Debris flow could occur throughout the season. Follow Gunlock State Park’s official Facebook page and website for updates. 

March 13, 2023

Waterfalls at Gunlock State Park | 2019

GUNLOCK, Utah — The stunning waterfalls at Gunlock State Park are expected to flow this spring. These falls are a rare sight to behold, having occurred only a handful of times within the last decade. 

The waterfalls are part of a spillway and flow when the reservoir reaches capacity. When the reservoir fills quickly, the additional water flows over the dam and spills down the cliffside, creating waterfalls. The water then flows down the Santa Clara River, where it joins the Virgin River. While the waterfalls have not yet started, the increasing water level indicates they are likely to begin flowing this month.

“We invite visitors to enjoy this wonderful experience, but want to remind the public to exercise vigilance and safety in the area,” Gunlock State Park Manager Jon Allred said.  “There is inherent risk when recreating outdoors, so safety and situational awareness are paramount.”

While the responsibility rests with individuals and families to use discretion and to recreate safely, Gunlock State Park staff have posted caution signs along trails and on the dam reminding visitors of the hazards. Park staff and rangers will also patrol the area more often to engage with visitors.

Waterfalls at Gunlock State Park | 2019

Recreating on the rocks near the waterfalls is dangerous. Rocks are slick, water is swift, and covered hazards exist in the pools. We strongly encourage visitors to use caution and be observant in the area. 

Because of the waterfall’s popularity, there is a chance that the park will reach its visitor capacity. Once this happens, additional visitors will not be admitted until it is back under capacity. We recommend checking the Gunlock State Park website and Facebook page before getting on the road, as capacity closures will be posted there if applicable. 

We are also increasing traffic measures and enforcement in the area to help mitigate congestion. Parking near the falls and within the state park will be restricted to designated parking areas only and limited to the west side of the road along Gunlock Road. Please utilize the appropriate pay station to pay your entrance fee. Utah State Parks annual day-use passes are accepted. 

Visitors are also asked to continue utilizing the appropriate park amenities — such as trash cans and restrooms. Please recreate responsibly by cleaning up after yourself, respecting others around you, and following safety precautions. 

Learn More About Gunlock State Park!

Waterfalls at Gunlock State Park | CTSY: Washington County Water Conservancy District

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