70-Year-Old Hiker Dies Following 60-Foot Drop From Alabama Waterfall

by Caitlin Berard

On Saturday afternoon, a 70-year-old man was hiking at High Falls Park in DeKalb County when he lost his footing near a waterfall around 2 p.m. Tragically, the hiker slipped off the trail completely, falling 60 feet to his death in the popular Alabama park.

DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office responded to the incident, rescue crews working tirelessly to remove the hiker from the bottom of the waterfall. It took several hours, but they were finally successful, carefully removing the man from the water before transporting the body to the coroner’s office.

As the man’s family has yet to be notified, his identity remains undisclosed.

High Falls Park is heralded as the crown jewel of Northeast Alabama. A popular destination for hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts from across the country, High Falls Park is located near Lookout Mountain and houses both hiking trails and swimming areas, along with its stunning waterfall.

Sadly, however, the recent death of a hiker is only the latest tragedy to strike High Falls. In 2014, a 16-year-old boy drowned and another girl was injured while the pair were swimming in the park with friends.

And just three years later, an 18-year-old boy jumped into the creek and didn’t resurface. Rescue crews later recovered his body not far from where he had jumped.

The Alabama Hiker Wasn’t the First to Fall Victim to a Waterfall

Waterfalls are a thing of incomparable beauty, but they’re also deadly. Because of this, virtually every park in the world that features a waterfall advises staying well away from the water unless you’re at the bottom.

With a larger waterfall, the current at the top is nearly impossible to fight. The ground surrounding the water is often slippery as well, which can easily cause an unintended drop into the water below.

So, unfortunately, falls near or in waterfalls aren’t all that uncommon. In fact, the Alabama hiker’s tragic accident wasn’t even the first in the last month.

In late August, a group of hikers was descending Mount Cannon, a New Hampshire mountain, when one of them slipped. Before he could regain his footing, he fell off a ledge.

When authorities responded to the incident, they found the hiker’s body at the bottom of the waterfall. They found that this hiker went off the beaten path. Rather than taking the Mount Cannon tram, the hiker opted to walk down, even though there was no trail.

Just a week before that, another outdoorsman slipped while hiking in Oregon near Multnomah Falls. She fell more than 100 feet and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Every year, there are around 1000 deaths among U.S. National Parks visitors, about half of which are caused by vehicle accidents, drowning, and falls.