OUTDOORS & RECREATION

Garfield County officials urge hikers to be prepared after death in Bryce Canyon National Park

Aug 27, 2023, 5:01 PM | Updated: 10:24 pm

GARFIELD COUNTY, Utah — Local officials are asking hikers to come prepared after an Arizona woman went missing in Bryce Canyon National Park and was found dead.

Garfield County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Joseph Adams said they believe the woman, Jeanne Howell, 64, was likely an experienced hiker.

“She was supposed to meet up with her family on Saturday, but she got there a day early and wanted to do a solo hike,” Adams said.

Officials say Howell was wearing a Garmin GPS tracking device, which allowed search and rescue teams to find her. While her death is still under investigation, Adams said weather was likely a contributing factor.

Arizona hiker found dead in Bryce Canyon National Park

With the Labor Day weekend approaching, officials are urging hikers to be prepared, especially as monsoon season continues.

Adams said to always have a plan. Make sure someone who’s not hiking with you knows what trial you’ll be taking and what time you’re hoping to be back.

“If you’ve planned for a couple of hours hike, you should overpack,” he said. “Bring more than enough water, more than enough food, enough that can sustain you in case you are (out) longer than you anticipate.”

Terri Bush of Brigham City visited Bryce Canyon on Friday and hiked the Fairyland Loop Trail for the first time.

“It was really beautiful in the morning. Mostly blue skies, just a handful of clouds,” she said. “I had read in the forecast that there was possibly going be rain later in the day.”

The rain did eventually come. Despite getting soaked, Bush said she remembers feeling glad she wasn’t caught in the lower areas of the trail. So, when Bush read about Howell, who was found dead a mile east of the trail, she felt “sick.”

Fairyland Loop Trail on Friday as the rain started to pour on the trail. (Courtesy: Terri Bush)

“I would go back and hike again, but knowing it had been where we had just been was really shocking and sad,” Bush said.

Adams encourages hikers to stay on the designated trails. He also said hikers should make sure they have weather alerts turned on.

“Make sure that you’re checking the weather, and if you are getting flash flood warnings or severe storm warnings, make sure you take those seriously and plan accordingly,” Adams said.

For more tips, click you can check out the Trails Foundation of Northern Utah website.

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Garfield County officials urge hikers to be prepared after death in Bryce Canyon National Park