Rock slides causing concern along popular Grand Canyon trail

By Michel Marizco
Published: Thursday, March 23, 2023 - 12:23pm
Updated: Thursday, March 23, 2023 - 5:48pm

Bright Angel Trail
J. Hogan/NPS
A rockslide photographed March 22, 2023, along the upper Bright Angel Trail.

One of the most popular trails within Grand National Park is being closely watched after winter storms triggered a series of rock slides. 

Powerful rains and melting snow are attributed for several rock falls in northern Arizona. The Arizona Department of Transportation closed State Route Highway 89A closed after a rock slide Tuesday. Then a boulder big enough that it required a bulldozer to move it fell on the highway. 

In Grand Canyon National Park, officials say they found three rockfalls along the popular Bright Angel Trail on Wednesday alone. 

Joelle Baird with the Grand Canyon said the rockfalls were on the upper three to five miles of the trail, most popular with hikers.

"At this point in time, the trail is passable; however we are letting people know that with the warming temperatures and the sheer amount of precipitation that we received here in the park over the last few months, there is a greater likelihood for increased rockfalls as well as flash flood activity," Baird said. 

Mule operations have been suspended until the trails could be cleared. 

And the park is asking people to notify officials if they find more rock falls within the canyon. 

They’re not small. Baird said one large boulder that fell last week measured 3 by 5 feet wide.

Bright Angel Trail rock slide
J. Hogan/NPS Photos
Officials said the Bright Angel Trail is still passable for hikers but not mules.

FronterasEnvironment Tourism