Two Kids and Dog Go Missing on Colorado Trail, Before Being Located Safe

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by ablokhin via Getty Images)

On Monday evening (September 26), two 9-year-old boys asked their parents if they could take their dog for a walk on the nearby Congo Trail in Colorado.

Now, the Congo Trail is considered challenging. It’s also over 3 miles long and takes the average hiker nearly 3 hours to complete. Starting this hiking trail at 6 p.m. would be dangerous for anyone, let alone two small children.

The boys weren’t going to do the entire trail, however. They simply wanted to walk along the easement of the trail, a route that would only take 10-15 minutes. Their parents agreed and the boys left, the dog in tow.

Forty minutes later, the parents were in a panic. The boys hadn’t returned home, and because they didn’t have cell phones, there was no way to contact them. Just before 7 p.m., Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office received a call for assistance; the parents were on their way to search for the boys on foot and by car.

Rescue Crews Locate Missing Children and Dog

After just half an hour, two teams of eight from Mountain Rescue Aspen were already searching the Colorado trail for the missing children on foot. Meanwhile, Aspen Fire Department prepared to dispatch their thermal imaging drone to assist.

At around 7:45 p.m., however, the boys returned home on their own, without the help of their parents or rescue crews. According to the children, they made a wrong turn along the way and found themselves at the top of the Steeple Chase Catwalk.

Realizing their mistake, they retraced their steps, arriving safely back at their house. By 8:00 p.m., all members of the rescue teams had safely exited the area as well.

Colorado Police Urge Parents to Teach Trail Safety

Just two days before this mission, Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office received a call for assistance from another Colorado trail. This time, a 31-year-old man had sprained or broken his ankle and couldn’t leave the area on his own.

After dispatching multiple rescue crews and searching for hours, police learned that the man had found the strength to walk after all. He walked all the way back to the bus and left the area – without alerting the rescue workers. Needless to say, this caused a massive waste of time and resources for police, paramedics, and volunteers.

The situation with the missing children was slightly different. The parents had no way of knowing that their children were on their way home, and therefore weren’t held responsible for not informing rescue crews that they were no longer needed. However, Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office still urged parents to educate their children on trail safety.

“The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and Mountain Rescue Aspen would like to remind all parents to talk with their children about trail safety and knowledge of the routes they embark on,” they said in a statement following the successful completion of the rescue mission.