ST. GEORGE — The Narrows Trail in Zion National Park was closed early Wednesday afternoon after a rockfall right at the start of the bottom portion of the trail and injured a young adult female, park officials said.
Updated 7 p.m., Sept. 15: Additional details with woman injured, exact location of rockfall were added.
Park spokesperson Amanda Rowland said the rockfall occurred at around 1:04 p.m. and medical and search and rescue teams were dispatched to the scene. It took place 250 meters past the end of Riverside Walk at the start of the bottom portion of The Narrows.
“The rockfall originated from the Navajo Sandstone. Several cobble-sized blocks came down into the river as well as a plume of sand and dust, indicating that the source came from up high and likely hit a ledge on its way down.,” Rowland said, adding that it appears the fall may have fallen from as high as 146 meters.
Rowland said one of the cobble-sized rocks hit the young woman. Medical and search and rescue teams went into the area to render aid. The woman was transported to the hospital, and Rowland said her injuries were not life-threatening. Besides the woman, there was no one else injured.
According to the American Geosciences Institute, a cobble-stone rock is described as being larger than a pebble and smaller than a boulder — between 2.5 and 10 inches in diameter.
The Narrows and Riverside Walk are planned to remain closed until at least the morning while staff assesses if more rockfalls are imminent. Rowland pointed out there is an elevated risk of additional material coming down, leaving hikers in The Narrows needing to be extra alert going into the weekend.
Riverside Walk constitutes the first mile or so of hiking The Narrows from the “bottom up.” After starting at the Temple of Sinawava, it is paved for the first 1.1 miles before reaching the formal start of The Narrows Trail. The remaining 1.1 miles feature, true to the portion of the trail’s name, a walk along the Virgin River in the shadow of bordering cliffs.
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