ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – On Thursday, a 75-year-old man from Houston was found dead in Big Bend National Park. Rangers found the man along Chimneys Trail on July 21 about half a mile from the trailhead.
“Big Bend National Park staff and partners are saddened by this loss,” stated Deputy Superintendent David Elkowitz, “and our entire park family extends sincere condolences to the hiker’s family and friends.”
The Chimneys Trail is a moderately-difficult, 5-mile round trip hike to a series of prominent volcanic formations in the western desert of the park.
Summer temperatures in Big Bend are extreme and temperatures over most of the park reach 100+ degrees by late morning and increase to exceedingly dangerous levels until long after sunset. On Thursday afternoon, the temperatures along the Chimneys Trail exceeded 104 degrees.
Park Rangers are reminding visitors to be aware of the dangers of extreme heat. Hikers should be prepared to carry and drink one gallon of water per day, and to plan on being off desert trails by noon.
Extreme heat warnings are posted throughout the Big Bend Park website along with trail closures. It is important to always read signs and take these warnings seriously to avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation.
The cause of death for the unnamed man has not yet been identified.