As one of the deadliest national parks in the U.S., Big Bend requires ample precaution and preparation for hikers of all ages. Sadly, the Texas park has seen two deaths already in 2023.
In these first months of the year, two hikers have died within 3 weeks of one another. On Monday, March 6, a 64-year-old woman collapsed while hiking Hot Springs Canyon Trail and did not survive.
At approx. 2:45 pm, Big Bend National Park’s Communications Center received a call requesting emergency assistance along the trail. “The caller indicated that a 64 year-old female had collapsed and was unresponsive. 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,” the park cites in their NPS statement.
A U.S. Border Patrol helicopter was brought in to provide emergency transport for the woman. “Unfortunately, all attempts to revive the hiker were unsuccessful,” Big Bend officials lament.
“Big Bend National Park staff and our partners are saddened by this loss,” offers 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.”
As the park emphasizes, Hot Springs Canyon Trail winds through rugged desert and rocky cliffs above the Rio Grande River at the U.S./Mexico border. There is no shade or water available for the full three miles. This makes the trail dangerous to attempt in the heat of the afternoon or at any time during hot days.
If visiting the park yourself, please view Big Bend National Park Safety in full first. It could save your life.
56-Year-Old Man Died Feb. 18 While Hiking Pinnacles Trail
On Feb. 18, a 56-year-old man died of an apparent heart attack in Big Bend while hiking with his scout troop.
“Friends hiking with the visitor immediately began CPR and continued with the help of bystanders and park volunteers until rangers arrived on scene with an AED,” Big Bend explained at the time. “Unfortunately, all attempts to revive the patient were unsuccessful.”
The late hiker was accompanying scouts along Big Bend’s Pinnacles Trail, another beloved scenic hike.
Big Bend is One of the Deadliest National Parks in the U.S.
Earlier in March, a new study solidified the Texas national park as one of the deadliest in the United States.
Big Bend National Park (BIBE) comes in at #8 of the top 10. Within the average 389,196 visits per year, 0.43 is the percentage of deaths to 100,000 visits.
Compiled with 15 years of federal National Park Service visitation data, there are a lot of numbers involved in this fascinating and revealing list. Interestingly, another Texas national park site scored higher than Texas’ NPS gem on the index.
For the full breakdown, see our Deadliest National Park in the U.S. next.