Photo of pine trees covered by fog

Unidentified Hiker 1 Mee Canyon

  • Found Alive

About Unidentified Hiker 1 Mee Canyon's case

According to source, A small group of hikers marched down a newly opened canyon trail Friday, April 10, 2020 only to discover smoke signals from a man who had been lost since April 6, 2020 and was out of food and water. The group of hikers called 911 at 1:30p to report a smoke column and a unreachable person yelling from a half mile away, according to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. A Centurylink helicopter carried a team of first responders to the area of Mee Canyon, about six miles southwest of Fruita on federal land. The copter crew immediately sighted the column of smoke and the lost hiker waving his arms. Rescuers and medical personnel reached the man and found him exhausted and dehydrated, but uninjured. The 31-year-old man said he, a 32-year-old friend, and their two dogs had left the Knowles Canyon Trailhead four days earlier. They became lost and the 32-year-old and the dogs fell into a canyon. The 31-year-old had been trying to find his way out before stopping and using a lighter to set a small fire. He told rescuers the pair was from out-of-state and had been hiking at national parks for several weeks. However, they set out lightly loaded for food and without a cell phone. Rescuers recovered the fallen hiker’s body Sunday. He had fallen 60-80 feet down a slickrock formation, according to the Mesa County Coroner’s Office. The two dogs were also found. They suffered only minor injuries. The surviving hiker was found a mile away from his friend’s body and just four miles from the Knowles Canyon Trailhead, according to the sheriff’s office. Rescuers, however, believe the surviving hike may have traveled up to 15 miles in his attempt to escape the canyons. Rescue crews say the decision to light the fire may have saved his life. The survivor also can thank the group of hikers using the Mee Canyon Trail on the first day it was open. “Had the gate not been opened for day hikers,” MCSO stated in its press release, “the individual may not have been found.”

Personal Characteristics

Age / Ethnicity

Gender / Hair / Eyes

Distinguishing Marks

Not Available

Profession / Education

Not Available

Height / Weight

Not Available


Not Available


Last Known Location

Investigative Details

  • Foul Play Suspected: No
  • Suicide Suspected: No
  • Cause of Death: Not Applicable

Significant Dates

  • Reported Missing: Monday, April 6, 2020 (4 years ago)
  • Date Found: Friday, April 10, 2020 (4 years ago)

Administrative Details

Monday, January 8, 2024 (5 months ago)

Missing NPF Public Identification Number (MPID) 9891

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