News Archive

September 27, 2023

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Hiker lost overnight at Walker Ranch Open Space, Sunday into Monday

50-year-old female was uninjured and reunited with a family member

Boulder County, Colo. - On Sunday, September 24, 2023, at approximately 6:30 p.m., the Boulder County Communications Center was notified of a hiker who had become disoriented and was lost in the area of Walker Ranch Open Space, west of Boulder.

The 50-year-old female had driven up to the area with her husband with a plan for him to fish and her to hike. They had separated at South Boulder Creek, with plans to meet at a bridge that intersected the creek and the trail. When the husband arrived at the bridge at approximately the time they were to meet, and didn’t see his wife, he waited to see if she would show up. When she still hadn’t shown up after an extended time, he went back to the car to see if she was there. She was not there, so he began to look for her around the creek and on the trails. While he was looking for her, she had called 911, but due to low battery, was only able to tell the dispatcher she was lost and the trailhead she had departed from before the phone died and the call dropped.

Deputies were initially dispatched to the area to investigate the possible lost party and located the husband who reported that his wife had been hiking and was overdue. Deputies immediately started checking trailheads and requested Emergency Services personnel to respond. A search operation was initiated at approximately 8:00 p.m. with teams from Rocky Mountain Rescue Group and Front Range Rescue Dogs. Overnight, rescuers searched the trails at Walker Ranch Loop and down into Eldorado Canyon State Park as well as the South Boulder Creek Drainage but were unable to locate the lost party. The overnight search was suspended at 4:00 a.m. on Monday, September 25, 2023, with plans to return with fresh searchers at 8:00 a.m.

The search resumed at 8:00 a.m. with searchers from Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, Front Range Rescue Dogs, Boulder County Mounted Search and Rescue, and Boulder Emergency Squad. Additionally, an Everbridge notification was sent out to homes in the vicinity of the search asking homeowners to be on the lookout for the lost party. At approximately 10:00 a.m. the lost hiker walked into the visitor center at Eldorado Canyon State Park. Park rangers reported she was safe and uninjured. She was provided transport from the state park back to the Walker Ranch Trailhead, where she was reunited with her husband.

We are incredibly thankful to all the teams helping with this search. As well as it’s positive outcome, in part thanks to the preparation and planning by the lost hiker. We encourage everyone to tell a friend or family member where you plan to hike and what route you plan to take. Be prepared with the ten essentials, including things like food, water, extra layers, a headlamp, whistle, and a fully charged phone or battery bank. These simple things can be invaluable tools in the unforgiving wilderness of Colorado.

Agencies assisting with this rescue effort included: Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, Boulder County Mounted Search and Rescue, Boulder County Parks and Open Space, Boulder Emergency Squad, City of Boulder Open Space Mountain Parks Rangers, Colorado Search and Rescue Association, Eldorado Canyon State Park Rangers, Front Range Rescue Dogs, and Rocky Mountain Rescue Group.

The associated Boulder County Sheriff's Office case number is: #23-5276.


/s/ Ryan Singer, Emergency Service Coordinator