A rockfall involving “truck-sized boulders” that hit an unoccupied, parked vehicle has closed the Westside Road in Mount Rainier National Park, park officials said Friday.
The rockfall occurred sometime prior to Thursday, May 14, when a park maintenance crew returning from a multi-night trip discovered it, at the Dry Creek public parking area.
One rock hit a parked pickup truck squarely on the driver’s side, severely damaging it and pushing it nearly over the edge of the roadway, according to the park report. Numerous large boulders, one larger than a truck, were strewn over the parking area and the road. Some came to rest in adjoining Tahoma Creek.
The rocks caused craters in the road, one at least eight feet across and three feet deep. The rockfall originated on Mount Wow, which towers above the Westside Road. The lightly-used road, which branches off the Nisqually Highway (SR 706), serves backcountry areas west of the mountain.
Once it can be ascertained that park crews can safely enter the area to work, they will remove the boulders, repair the road and a damaged gate prior to reopening the road to the public, park officials said.