Three overdue hikers rescued from Garfield County slot canyon

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GARFIELD COUNTY (ABC4 News) – Crews successfully rescued three hikers from a slot canyon in Garfield County. 

Three hikers, in their early 20s, all from Colorado, were reported overdue on Thursday, May 23. A family member told dispatchers the trio had planned on starting a hike on the day before on the Muley Twist Trail in Capital Reef National Park.

Garfield County Search and Rescue and Capital Reef National Park Rangers began searching for the three hikers. The trailhead was checked, and the search parties were unable to find the vehicle that the party was supposedly traveling in.

They continued to search for the vehicle to have a starting point to try to locate the party. 

A Department of Public Safety helicopter was called to help with the search from the air. Eventually, on Saturday, one of the NPS rangers found the vehicle parked off the side of the road in a bunch of trees on Notum Road.

Deputies said due to the vehicle’s color (green), it blended in with the trees, and searchers were unable to spot it from the area.

After finding the vehicle, the search began in the Strike Valley Slot Canyon. The Department of Public Safety Helicopter, Classic Helicopter, Garfield County Search and Rescue along with Capital Reef Park Rangers began the search in the slot canyon. The party was spotted by the helicopters.

Deputies said the party reported it had rained while they were on their hike, and they were wet, cold, and exhausted. The woman in the group was showing signs of hypothermia, and they decided to just wait for help.

On Saturday, Garfield County Rope Rescue Team along with Capital Reef National Park Rope Rescue team went out to the scene and were able to rescue the three hikers and bring them out safely.

Garfield County officials urge the public to be safe while hiking, check the weather, keep a GPS with you, study the area you are hiking, and be prepared for any weather situation.

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