News Release

Hiker Fatality on South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park-June 2021

A series of steep switchbacks on the upper South Kaibab Trail.
Upper section of the South Kaibab Trail

NPS Photo/M. Quinn

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News Release Date: June 23, 2021

Contact: Joelle Baird, 928-606-3154

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. – On June 22 at approximately 1:20 p.m., the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received a call reporting CPR in progress approximately a half mile below the South Kaibab Trailhead.

Bystanders initiated CPR and National Park Service (NPS) EMS personnel responded and assisted with resuscitation efforts. All attempts to resuscitate the victim were unsuccessful.

The victim has been identified as William Smith, 60, of Oswego, Illinois. Smith was hiking out of the canyon after completing a day hike to Ooh Ahh Point, approximately one mile down the South Kaibab Trail.

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. 

Park rangers at Grand Canyon National Park advise hikers to postpone challenging hikes or trying new activities while first responders continue to concentrate on other incidents. Before heading down trail, hikers are strongly encouraged to read the Hiking Tips page and check the Backcountry Updates and Closures page for current information on inner canyon conditions.

Last updated: December 14, 2021

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Grand Canyon, AZ 86023



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