News Release

Hiker Fatality on the Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon National Park

The Bright Angel Trail as it switchbacks into the inner canyon
Bright Angel Trail Switchbacks

NPS Photo/M. Quinn

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News Release Date: July 15, 2021

Contact: Kaitlyn Thomas, 202-763-3440

Contact: Joelle Baird, 928-606-3154

Grand Canyon, AZ – On July 14 at approximately 4:49 p.m., the Grand Canyon Communications Center received a report of CPR in progress on an unresponsive hiker at the Mile-and-a-Half Resthouse on the Bright Angel Trail.

The hiker, (Rodney) Jason Hatfield, 44, of Washington, Louisiana, was on a multi-day hiking trip and returning from Phantom Ranch when he began experiencing difficulty hiking up the Bright Angel trail near Indian Garden. Hatfield reached the Mile-and-a-Half Resthouse before becoming unresponsive. A preventive search and rescue (PSAR) volunteer arrived within minutes of the initial call and assisted with resuscitation efforts. Rangers responded via foot and helicopter however resuscitation efforts were not successful and responding rangers determined Hatfield to be deceased.

Rangers at Grand Canyon strongly urge visitors who plan to hike in the canyon to take extra precautions and hike safely. Hikers should hike before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m., rest in shade whenever possible, and avoid hiking during the heat of the day. Important tips for a successful hike include the following: balancing real food, electrolyte, and water intake; drinking when thirsty; getting wet to stay cool; and stopping hiking if you start to feel ill.

All visitors should ensure they are drinking plenty of fluids and watching for signs of distress in traveling companions. Additional information about hiking smart in the summer is available at

An investigation into the incident is being conducted by the NPS in coordination with the Coconino County Medical Examiner. No additional information is available at this time.

Last updated: July 16, 2021

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