Huge rockfall closes entrance to Yosemite National Park through weekend

On Monday around noon, a large rockfall closed down the El Portal Road entrance to Yosemite National Park. And on Tuesday, Yosemite officials announced in a press release that El Portal Road and the Arch Rock Entrance to the park will remain closed, at least through the weekend, while crews remove debris and repair damage done by the rockslide.

Per the press release, there is no estimate as to when El Portal Road — which is an extension of Highway 140 — will reopen.

“Around noon yesterday, a large rockslide occurred from the ‘Parkline Slab’ cliff, about 1 mile east of the park boundary on Highway 140. The rockslide originated from a point mid-way up the cliff, approximately 400 feet above the base of the cliff and 600 feet above the El Portal Road,” the press release stated.

“Roughly 4,000 tons of rock detached from the cliff along a cliff-parallel exfoliation joint; the approximate dimensions of the slab are 50 x 80 x 15 feet,” the press release continued. “This massive slab of rock slid down the cliff, hit a ledge, and broke into many pieces; these pieces fragmented further on hitting the base of the cliff, fanning out over an area more than 1,000 feet wide.”

While the Arch Rock Entrance serves as the main entrance to Yosemite for visitors driving in from the east, the park noted in its press release that access is still possible via Highways 41 and 120 to the west.

Yosemite officials told the San Francisco Chronicle that visitors traveling on Highway 140 from the east to the park should turn onto Highway 49 in Mariposa, and follow that to Highway 41 at Oakhurst before taking Highway 41 into Yosemite.

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