‘It sounded like thunder’: Rockslide at Zion startles tourists

Nov 14, 2023, 11:20 PM | Updated: Nov 15, 2023, 1:08 am

ZION NATIONAL PARK — The area surrounding Weeping Rock remains closed while scientists from Zion National Park assess the debris, following a massive rockslide.

Park officials said around 3:40 p.m. Tuesday they received a report of a rockfall that caused a large cloud of dust.

“When you see something like that coming down, it is scary at first,” Cindy Ulshafer said.   “It was quite an experience. It was my first time on Angel’s Landing, and I couldn’t believe we experienced this.”

Ulshafer was hiking with her friend Susan Grove when they stopped and looked to the sky thinking they heard a giant and ongoing clap of thunder.

“It was so loud,” Grove said.  “I can’t believe we captured it on camera.”

Grove’s husband witnessed the last rockslide, in the same location, that happened in August of 2019.

“That’s very interesting that we both watched these rockslides,” she said.  “What does that say about us?”

The landslide at Weeping Rock in 2019 shut the majority of the trail down permanently. Only a quarter of a mile trail to the lookout remains open to the public.  The 2019 landslide injured three hikers and stranded dozens.

Park official, Jonathan Shafer, said there were no injuries from Tuesday’s rockslide.

“I have been telling my guests about the 2019 slide for years.  And to actually witness this one was unreal,” Nolan Hanson, Zion Park Tourguide said. “I could be in the park for the next 100 years and never see anything like that again.”

Hanson has led hundreds of tours.  He recounts the rockslide lasted about one minute.

“Hypothetically if that landslide hadn’t happened in 2019, there would have been hundreds of people on that trail but they have had that section of trail closed since 2019,” Hanson said.  “I had a couple on their honeymoon today taking my tour.  They couldn’t believe their eyes. They asked if this happens often. I can definitely say it does not.”

Shuttles paused for 90 minutes following the landslide on Tuesday.

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‘It sounded like thunder’: Rockslide at Zion startles tourists