Grand Canyon, Arizona

Wisconsin Hiker Found Dead on Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon

A Wisconsin man was found dead on a Grand Canyon National Park hiking trail last week, authorities said. According to a statement Tuesday from the National Park Service, the parks Regional Communications Center received a call about an unresponsive hiker below Havasupai Gardens on the Bright Angel Trail around 3 p.m. Feb. 17.

Search and rescue personnel arrived on the scene at 3:30 p.m., and the man was pronounced dead, the statement said. The 56-year-old Pewaukee, Wisconsin, man—who has yet to be identified—was trying to day-hike to the Colorado River and back, according to the statement. The man's cause of death has not been released and is being investigated by the National Parks Service and Arizona's Coconino County medical examiner.

According to NBC News, weather in the area has been consistently cold since the weekend, not reaching past the upper 40s. According to the NPS, 5 to 7 inches of snow had recently fallen in the area.

The Bright Angel Trail is a challenging hike with a steep incline. The popular trail allows hikers to experience the Grand Canyon much as Native Americans, miners, and pioneers did before them. However, the NPS indicates that the easy hike down can be misleading. Since the trail is well-maintained and graded, hikers don't always realize how far they have descended into the canyon. The panoramic views and rock formations also lend a hand in distracting hikers. The NPS suggests, "Plan for at least twice as much time back up as it took to go down," since the trail is difficult and very steep. It suggests consulting with a park ranger before heading into the canyon, especially if hiking to Havasupai Gardens or Plateau Point. Both trails take upward of nine hours to complete round-trip, with a 3,000-foot elevation change.

The NPS also says that during the winter, "temperatures regularly drop below freezing, and upper portions of this steep trail can become dangerously icy."

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