The Hurricane Canal, which for more than 80 years carried Virgin River water from the “upriver” communities of Springdale, Rockville and Virgin to homes and farms on the Hurricane Bench, is an engineering miracle. The story of its construction by second-generation settlers is one of backbreaking labor, creative innovation and sustained determination against the odds.
The canal is a suspended rock-lined delivery channel on the hillside on your right, clearly visible to tourists and residents traveling to Zion National Park. You may not recognize it as you motor through small communities and up the hill toward the park, but this 17.5-mile waterway was chipped through rock cliffs by 3 – 300 laborers using only picks and shovels – and an occasional blast of dynamite – to bring water to the parched Hurricane Valley. Today, there are other water sources for farming and ranching in this part of Washington County, but it is thanks to a handful of visionary men committed to stay put and raise their families here that the Hurricane Canal was built.
The Hurricane Canal, dry since 1985, is now a pleasant and memorable hike. There are places where the canal has been ravaged by years of neglect, and there are the anticipated critters along the way, so hikers should be alert but will certainly find lots to enjoy, including seashells along your way – left over from the ancient Lake Bonneville which millions of years ago covered this part of Utah to the tops of the mesas.
A word of warning: hiking the Hurricane Canal is not advised in the heat of the summer. Despite its name and history, there is no water anywhere along the way. Exploring the canal is something you will want to do on your vacation in Southern Utah, but it is best done in the cool part of the year (mid-November to mid-February) and always with reliable, close-toed shoes, a big brimmed hat and lots of bottled water.
No warning is necessary when it comes to finding a beautiful resort rental as your home-away-from-home when vacationing in St. George. Whether you are here for a week or a month, we will be waiting to make you comfortable after your hiking adventure at the 5 Seasons Vacation condominiums and St. George Resort Rentals. Register online today at stgeorgeresortrentals.com for accommodations at the St. George Resort Rentals or laspalmasresortcondos.com for Five Seasons Vacation condominiums.