Yosemite National Park Main Entrance Blocked by Rock Slide

International tourist destination, Yosemite National Park, will be a little more difficult to access for the next week due to a large rock slide. On Monday, June 12th, around four million tons of rock cascaded down the Parkline Slab cliff side and onto El Portal Road. This is proving problematic as this is the main entrance used by tourists to enter the park.

The large amount of rock tumbled down 600 feet of cliff where it collided with a ledge and shattered into several smaller pieces. The rock continued to tumble down the cliff where it broke into smaller pieces before settling across El Portal Road and into the bed of the Merced River. The total area affected by the rock slide is estimated to be one thousand feet. El Portal Road is covered in rock between 15 and 20 feet deep. The heaviest boulder that landed on the road is estimated to weigh over 100 tons. The paving of the road and a retaining wall have been damaged and will need to be repaired before the road is passable for visitors.

El Portal Road is used by over 700 thousand visitors each year. The expected week long closure will effect not only tourists, but also employees of the park. The rock slide has cut off the shortest route from the Central Valley, which contains El Portal and Mariposa. Many of the park’s employees make their homes in the valley. For the next week, daily commutes will increase from 30 minutes to three hours as employees travel alternate routes to work.

Park rangers hope to have El Portal Road accessible by June 19th at the latest. Visitors can still access the beautiful Yosemite Valley using the Highway 41 entrance or the Highway 120 entrance. Tioga Pass is closed until early July due to historic amounts of snowfall. Visitors wishing to stay updated on the road closure should visit the park’s website, or call the Yosemite information hotline at 209-372-0200, press one then one again for the latest updates on the state of El Portal Road.






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