Zion rockfall leaves 3 injured, several stranded near Weeping Rock

Crews work to clear a rockfall near the Weeping Rock trailhead and shuttle stop that showers visitors with debris at Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah, Aug. 24, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the National Park Service, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Weeping Rock trailhead and shuttle stop were closed for more than an hour Saturday after a rockfall in Zion National Park injured three and left several visitors temporarily stranded.

Crews work to clear a rockfall near the Weeping Rock trailhead and shuttle stop that showered visitors with debris at Zion National Park, Utah, Aug. 24, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the National Park Service, St. George News

The rockfall was reported just before 6 p.m. Saturday near the shuttle stop, which is located in the main canyon, according to a press release from the National Park Service.

Park employees responded to the area to find that a large piece of rock had broken off of Cable Mountain, which is located about 3,000 feet above Weeping Rock.

The rockfall struck near the East Rim Trail where it knocked down several trees and showered a number of visitors below with branches, a plume of dust and smaller rocks as the boulder broke apart.

Three visitors were injured, one of which was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center by a park ambulance.

A number of visitors were temporarily stranded at the end of Weeping Rock trail, but were able to make their way out of the area on their own shortly thereafter.

Shuttle services along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive were temporarily discontinued for about 90 minutes as the dust settled, and park authorities have closed the Weeping Rock trail and adjacent shuttle stop, stop number seven, until further notice.

Echo Canyon and Observation Point Canyon canyoneering routes are also closed, as is the East Rim Trail from Observation Point to Weeping Rock.

NPS announced Saturday that they were planning to temporarily close the Weeping Rock trail and shuttle stop number seven on Thursday and Friday for repairs. It is unknown how Sunday’s rockfall will affect these plans.

The East Rim Trail was closed Jan. 18 after a major rockfall. Geologists from the state of Utah recommended scaling rock, which involves removing potentially unstable rock using hand tools, directly over a portion of the trail before crews began making repairs to the trail itself.

The closure would allow crews completing phase one of the repair schedule to work within a safe zone.

The park appreciates the public’s cooperation and patience as it continues to work on reopening trails damaged and closed by earlier rockfall, the statement said.

For up to date trail information go to the National Park Service, stop by the visitor center, or follow the Park on Twitter 

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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