A rockfall at Zion National Park on Tuesday forced officials to shut down the park’s scenic drive and pause shuttle services, cutting visitors off from some of the canyon’s scenic views and vistas.
Debris from the rockfall blocked access to Zion Scenic Drive for about an hour near the Grotto, officials said — the fifth stop on the shuttle bus system inside the park.
Jonathan Shafer, a Zion National Park spokesperson, said no one was injured in the rockfall, and no shuttles were damaged. It’s unclear what caused the rockfall Tuesday.
“These kinds of events can be difficult to predict and are a normal part of the canyon-forming activity that led to the formation of Zion Canyon,” Shafer said.
Zion crews ultimately removed the debris using heavy equipment. The park shared a photo of a crew member at work, blowing away thick layer of pink-orange dust from the roadway’s dark asphalt.
Along with rockfalls, the park is no stranger to natural disasters including flash-flooding, wildfires and extreme heat, Shafer said. Zion’s millions of visitors are encouraged to expect such conditions and take precautions.
The last significant rockfall happened west of the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel in November 2021, Shafer said, temporarily closing State Route 9.
Zion has already attracted 1.2 million visitors this year as of April, according to the park’s latest tally. Last year, the park saw its highest number of visitors in May; in total, Zion averaged about 5 million visitors in 2021, the highest number of visitors since park officials began recording tallies in 1979.