Hiker collapses and dies on rugged desert trail with no shade

"The beauty of spring often brings dangerously hot temperatures to Big Bend."

March 8, 2023, 2:23 AM

A 64-year-old woman collapsed and died while hiking on an exposed and rugged desert trail in Texas, officials say.

The incident occurred at approximately 2:45 p.m. on Monday afternoon when Big Bend National Park’s Communications Center received a call requesting emergency assistance for a 64-year-old female who had collapsed and was unresponsive on the park’s Hot Springs Canyon Trail -- a three mile trail that takes hikers through rugged desert and rocky cliffs above the Rio Grande.

“A team of Park Rangers and a U.S. Border Patrol Agent responded and reached the patient by 3:30 pm and immediately began CPR,” read a statement from Big bend National Park following the incident. “A U.S. Border Patrol helicopter was called in to provide emergency transport of the patient.”

All attempts to revive the hiker, however, were unsuccessful.

PHOTO: View along the Hot Springs Canyon Trail.
View along the Hot Springs Canyon Trail.
Big Bend National Park / National Park Service

“Big Bend National Park staff and our partners are saddened by this loss,” stated Acting Deputy Superintendent Rick Gupman. “While we can’t conclude that weather was a factor in this incident, March reminds us that the beauty of spring often brings dangerously hot temperatures to Big Bend. Our entire Big Bend family extends our deep condolences to the hiker’s family and friends.”

Park officials warn that no shade or water along the trail the hiker was on can often make it dangerous to attempt in the heat of the afternoon.

With approximately 581,000 visitors in 2021, Big Bend National Park is the 15th largest in the national park system at 1,252 square miles and was authorized by Congress in 1935 to “preserve and protect a representative area of the Chihuahuan Desert along the Rio Grande.”