3 hurt in rockfall at Utah's Zion National Park

A "substantial piece of rock" broke off Cable Mountain and knocked down trees before showering visitors with smaller rocks, branches and other debris.

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By Phil Helsel

Three people were injured, including one who was transported to a hospital, in a large rockfall at Zion National Park in Utah on Monday afternoon, park authorities said.

"A substantial piece of rock" broke off Cable Mountain around 3,000 feet above Weeping Rock, the park said in a statement. Park staff were notified of the fall near a Weeping Rock shuttle stop around 5:50 p.m.

The falling rock felled trees and showered visitors with what was described as smaller rocks, branches and a plume of dust and sand. The rock struck the East Rim Trail, which had been previously closed, before debris rained down.

The identities of those injured were not released.

A substantial piece of rock had broken off Cable Mountain, approximately 3,000 feet above Weeping Rock in Zion National Park in Utah.National Parks Service

Earlier this month, a 14-year-old Utah girl died during a visit to Glacier National Park in Montana after falling rocks struck her vehicle. Four others were also injured in that rockfall.

Zion National Park is known for its canyons. In 2015, seven people died after flash flooding swept through a narrow canyon in the park. The group had been exploring a canyon along the north fork of the Virgin River when around 0.63 inches of rain fell in around an hour, it was reported at the time.

The park is in the southwestern part of Utah, east of St. George. In 2018, nearly 4.3 million recreational visits were recorded in the park, according to the National Park Service.

It ranked fourth in recreational visits to national parks in 2018, behind the Great Smoky Mountains, the Grand Canyon and Rocky Mountain national parks, according to its website.

Zion National Park was established by a 1919 law signed by President Woodrow Wilson, according the Department of the Interior. Before that, the Mukuntuweap National Monument was protected as a national monument by President Howard Taft in 1909, and it was expended and became the park.