Yes, Bridal Veil Falls is closed. Utah County asks everyone to mind the danger signs
With the 4th of July approaching, it might seem like summer temperatures would have eliminated avalanche risks, but that isn't the case this year.
A mid-January avalanche continues to impact summer recreation and hiking at Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon. The slide from just over five months ago deposited 30 to 40 feet of deep snow along the Provo River, most of which has melted.
"But right now there's still a fairly substantial amount of ice and debris that are in the Bridal Veil area and covering the trail," said Sgt. Spencer Cannon of the Utah County Sheriff's Office.
It’s not that an avalanche could still occur, but rather the hazards created when avalanche deposits melt.
"They melt from the top down, but they also melt from the bottom up. And that's where the danger really comes in, is that it creates a big cavernous space underneath.”
Cannon said instead of standing on many feet of snow, it could just be inches, “and if you happen to be standing there at the moment that that gives way, then you fall 10 or 15 feet down to the rocks below."
Bridal Veil Falls is no stranger to avalanches and the destruction that comes with them.
Its aerial tramway was destroyed by an avalanche in 1996.
Turning off of Highway 189 in Provo Canyon into Bridal Veil Falls, several warning signs cautioning of avalanche risk are clearly visible along the trail entrance gate, as well as a road closed sign.
However, the sheriff's office said some people are ignoring the signs and going up anyway. Cannon said they would rather not take a heavy-handed approach and issue citations, “but that's really not what it's about. It's about educating people and trying to protect them from themselves, really."
Annie Bruehl of Midway was hoping to enjoy some of the scenery at Bridal Veil Falls on a hot summer afternoon.
"I just come and try to meditate and just kind of have some peace,” she said.
But she was surprised to see the area was still closed.
“I am disappointed that it's closed. And I figured all the snow was gone and would not have imagined that there was still avalanche danger," said Bruehl.
She understands the reasons for the closure and is hopeful crews can get the debris cleared for the summer.
Sgt. Cannon said the Utah County Public Works Department anticipates the trail will open by the end of July.
Once crews remove the debris and evaluate conditions for safety, they can make the necessary repairs to both the trail and the bridge in front of Bridal Veil Falls that was destroyed by the avalanche.
"You know, it's disappointing to people because they love the outdoors,” said Cannon. “In Utah, there are a ton of places where people can go to enjoy the outdoors. And when some of those very popular areas here along the Wasatch Front are closed, it makes it tough."