A popular loop trail in the Yosemite Valley has been reopened to the public after being closed for more than three years due to a large rockfall, according to Yosemite National Park officials.
The 5-mile-long Mirror Lake Loop Trail opened late last week. Located on the east end of the valley, the trail follows Tenaya Creek around Mirror Lake. It was closed back in March 2009 due to a large rockfall from Ahwiyah Point near Half Dome.
Yosemite Trail Crews basically built a new trail on the edge of the talus slope near Tenaya Creek. Work consisted of removing trees and rock to realign the trail. Several blasting operations have occurred over the past several weeks in order to remove large pieces of granite from the trail corridor and create new material for retaining walls and trail construction.
Rocks fell approximately 1,800 feet to the floor of Yosemite Valley from Ahwiyah Point, knocking down hundreds of trees and burying hundreds of feet of the trail on the southern portion of the loop. The impact of the rocks hitting the ground generated a magnitude 2.4 earthquake. The rockfall, which didn't hit any structures or injure anyone, was estimated to be approximately 43,000 cubic meters, or 115,000 tons. The Ahwiyah Point rockfall is the largest documented in Yosemite National Park since the Middle Brother rockfall event in 1987.
Due to its steep, glacier-carved cliffs, Yosemite Valley experiences many rockfalls each year.