Rockfall Closes Trail to Rancheria Falls in Yosemite National Park
April 7, 2014
Rockfall East of Wapama Falls above the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir closes trail to Rancheria Falls
A rockfall in the Hetch Hetchy area of Yosemite National Park closes trail east of Wapama Falls. At approximately 1:30 p.m. on March 31, a large rockfall occurred from the cliff just east of Wapama Falls above the Hetch Hetchy reservoir. No visitors were injured. However, the trail was closed just east of the Wapama Creek footbridges for safety purposes, and due to boulders preventing access beyond Wapama Falls.
Roughly 16,000 tons (5,500 cubic meters) of rock fell from a source about 500 feet (150 meters) above the base of the cliff. Rock debris hit the slope below the cliff, breaking into numerous boulders, crushing trees, and creating a small dust cloud. Fresh boulders completely covered the slope, and many boulders tumbled into the reservoir. Roughly 400 feet (120 meters) of the Rancheria Falls Trail were destroyed in the main impact area.
Hikers can still access Wapama Falls starting from the O'Shaughnessy Dam. The trail to Rancheria Falls just after Wapama Falls will be closed until further notice. The park is working to reopen the trail at a later date.
Talus left by recent rockfall. One of the Wapama Falls bridges is visible in the background (far left).