Full moon over the spruce trees of magic mystery night forest. Halloween backdrop.

Photo Credit: stsmhn (iStock).

As the seasons have started changing, the days are getting much shorter. One hiker from Florida found this out the hard way after getting lost as early nightfall set in Boulder County, Colorado, bringing cold temperatures with it.

At approximately 11:30 PM, the Boulder County Communications Center got word that a 20-year-old hiker from Tampa, Florida had set out on a trail during the day and was overdue. As darkness fell, the hiker was unable to find their vehicle and was not prepared for the dip in temperatures overnight.

Deputies from the Boulder County Sheriff's Office responded, finding the man's vehicle at the Coulson Gulch Trailhead north of Boulder and northwest of Lyons. This prompted a three-hour multi-team search that utilized ground tactics, as well as unmanned aerial systems. The male hiker was eventually found and safely returned to his vehicle.

As the days get shorter and colder in Colorado, it's crucial to be aware of how this will impact the hiking experience. Bring extra layers and water and always make sure to know the trail well. After dark, things have a tendency of looking very different, often making it quite difficult to find the right way back to the trailhead. Always pack a headlamp and let someone know exactly where you're headed and when you'll be back.

Thanks goes out to the search and rescue teams that were involved in this successful mission, including members from Big Elk Fire, Lyons Fire, Pinewood Springs Fire, Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, Boulder Emergency Squad, Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, and Colorado Search and Rescue.

You can help support some of Colorado's search and rescue efforts by purchasing a CORSAR card for $3 a year or $12 for five years. Learn more here.

Here's a look at where the Coulson Gulch Trailhead is located on a map:

Director of Content and Operations

Spencer McKee manages the OutThere Colorado digital publication as the Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to rock climb, trail run, and mountain bike. Follow along with his adventures on Instagram at @spence.outside


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(1) comment


Assuming you have cell service, you can mark on Google maps where you parked your car. Google maps will help you locate your car on the way back.

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