SALT LAKE CITY — A massive rock fall shut down a popular scenic highway near Moab on Sunday, one of several slides that blocked access to trails and vistas in Utah's red rock country over the weekend.
Crews on Sunday used explosives to blast through some boulders as big as motor homes, according to the Utah Department of Transportation, clearing one lane by evening and allowing alternating traffic.
Earlier in the day, rocks and rubble were strewn across both lanes of state Route 128, which traces the Colorado River, near the juncture with U.S. 191, Grand County sheriff's deputies said.
No injuries were reported in the slide about a mile outside Moab.
A smaller slide sent rocks onto the same road Saturday near Dewey Bridge, deputies said, but was cleared early Sunday.
Rock falls in recent stormy weather have also affected Zion National Park.
On Saturday, a retaining wall broke under a two-lane highway that leads visitors to the park, severely undercutting 8 feet of roadway, park officers said. The Zion-Mount Carmel Highway was closed until further notice but alternate routes remained open.
Wet weather and landslides at the park also shut down nearby trails and canyoneering routes, including the popular Upper Emerald Pools trail.Comment on this story
Zion Canyon has logged just over 10 inches of precipitation since October, more than a threefold increase from a year ago, park officers said in a statement.
"It's all due to the freeze-thaw cycle, and we've had a pretty extreme winter with a lot of storms," said UDOT spokesman John Gleason. "All of that can really cause rocks to come loose, jar loose."
Grand County deputies also urged travelers to be cautious in venturing off of pavement in the muddy conditions, providing a picture of a sedan stuck in mud in Arches National Park.
Contributing: Sean Moody