Washington County search and rescue, public safety teams ‘hoist’ hikers from Eagle Crags

Washington County Sheriff's Search and Rescue safely retrieved two hikers Monday night from the Eagle Crags Trail near the Canaan Mountain Wilderness Area, May 29, 2025 | Photo courtesy of Bureau of Land Management, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Two hikers became lost and ran out of water while hiking the Eagle Crags area near the Canaan Mountain Wilderness near Rockville Monday evening.

Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue aided two lost hikers in the Eagle Crags area near the Canaan Mountain Wilderness near Rockville Monday evening, Rockville, Utah, May 13, 2024 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, St. George News

Deputy Jacob Paul told St. George News that the Washington County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call at 7:46 p.m. The hikers from California included a man in his 60s and a female in her 50s.

Paul said the hikers were 3 ½ miles up and in a rocky area off the trail. Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue responded and determined that the Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter Star 8 needed to be called in for assistance. Additionally, there wasn’t a safe place to land.

“The Department of Public Safety has what’s called a hoist, and basically, it’s a line that comes down from the helicopter that can be controlled from the helicopter,” Paul said. “They send one of their hoist team members down that line. They put a harness and everything on the patient and then connect to them and bring them back into the helicopter on the hoist.”

Paul reminded the public to stay on marked trails when hiking and to pay attention, as some trails are less well marked as one gets higher. 

“So just make sure you have a GPS or some way to find your location back from that point,” Paul said. “Also, make sure to bring enough water with you. It’s starting to get into the summer months here. This is about the time of year that we start getting daily calls from people who do not bring enough water on their hikes with them and end up needing us to come and rescue them.”

According to a trail description on the Greater Zion website:

Eagle Crags is moderately trafficked out and back trail that is 5.7 miles long round-trip. It may take between 3-5 hours to complete. It is best used from March until November … The trail winds through a labyrinth of desert vegetation, crosses shallow sandy washes and ascends up switchbacks amidst large boulders, over broad ridges sparsely covered with a forest of pine and juniper trees. After a couple miles, the trail begins to climb steep red slopes toward the tilted sandstone towers looming above … A gentle ascent dominates most of the way with an elevation gain of 900 feet; however, a few sections near the end are steep. As you gain elevation, the scenery gets more interesting offering impressive views of the mouth of Zion Canyon to the north and Parunuweap Canyon to the east.

Map shows the Eagle Crags Trail, from which two hikers were returned to safety by the Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team, May 13, 2024 | Image courtesy of Greater Zion Tourism, St. George News | Click to enlarge

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2024, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!