Indiana Woman Found Without Pulse During Day Hike At Grand Canyon

Photo Credit: Bill O'Leary / The Washington Post / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Bill O'Leary / The Washington Post / Getty Images

The National Park Service (NPS) has announced the death of an Indiana woman along the Grand Canyon’s Bright Angel Trail. The incident highlights the dangers hikers and backpackers face when walking the canyon’s many trails, especially during the warmer spring and summer months.

Visitors riding mules along Bright Angel Trail
Tourists riding mules along Bright Angel Trail. (Photo Credit: Wild Horizons / Universal Images Group / Getty Images)

At around 9:00 PM on May 14, 2023, the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received a report of an unresponsive hiker along Bright Angel Trail. When emergency crews arrived on-scene, they found the 36-year-old woman without vital signs. While there were attempts to resuscitate her, all failed.

According to the NPS, the unidentified woman was attempting to hike to the Colorado River and back in one day. This prompted park rangers to remind visitors of the dangerous heat the Grand Canyon will experience throughout the summer, with them even going so far as to warn hikers to not walk the inner canyon between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM daily, due to the high temperatures.

Bridge crossing the Colorado River
Bright Angel Campground. (Photo Credit: Patrick Gorski / NurPhoto / Getty Images)

The Bright Angel Trail, in Arizona, is the most popular hiking location into the Grand Canyon, given its ample shade and stunning views. It’s often used by beginners looking to descend into the canyon, as rest stops, toilets and drinking water are available along the route.

The trail begins at Grand Canyon Village, along the southern rim of the Grand Canyon, and descends 4,380 feet, at an average grade of 10 percent. While it’s easy to walk down, it can be difficult to hike back up. Given this, the NPS suggests hikers plan for the return trip to take twice as long as their descent to the Colorado River.

Aerial view of Bright Angel Trail
Bright Angel Trail. (Photo Credit: Daniel Acker / Bloomberg / Getty Images)

Writing in a media release, the NPS advised, “Hiking in extreme heat can lead to serious health risks including heat exhaustion, heat stroke, hyponatremia (a life threatening electrolyte imbalance from drinking too much water and not consuming enough salt), and death.”

The statement continued, “Be aware that NPS efforts to assist hikers may be delayed during the summer months due to limited staff, the number of rescue calls, employee safety requirements, and limited helicopter flying capability during periods of extreme heat or inclement weather.”

Hiker walking along Bright Angel Trail
Bright Angel Trail. (Photo Credit: Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images)

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An investigation into the woman’s death is currently underway by the NPS, with assistance from the Coconino County Medical Examiner.


Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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