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Misleading review and poorly marked trail may have contributed to hikers getting lost

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Posted at 9:00 PM, Jan 28, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-29 14:35:58-05

IVINS, Utah – A misleading review of a southern Utah hike may have led to two couples getting lost over the weekend, and search and rescue team members said it’s actually quite common on this particular trail.

Sunday, the two couples in their 60s set out on the Red Mountain trail. Search and Rescue liaison Darrell Cashin said the group had bought a map which indicated the trail had moderate difficulty, and would take five hours. It ended up taking closer to 10.

“They ended up coming up to the ledge,” Cashin said. “Lost the trail, and were unable to locate it... They said they searched for approximately two hours to find that trail.”

Cashin said they get called out to Red Mountain several times per year for the same cause. He said the trail fades out several miles from the trail head, and many hikers get lost.

“They’re wandering around, and they’re out of water and they’re not prepared for it,” Cashin said.

It happens because the 12-mile trail is mostly undeveloped, and poorly marked. On top of that, steep declines can often be deceiving. The trail runs through the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve.

“There are no other markings unless someone has built a cairn to keep you on the trail or know where the trail splits," Cashin said.

Search and Rescue crews have had discussions about trying to get the trail taken off of commercial maps. The BLM and state parks have taken the trail off their maps, but it’s still fairly well-known. Hikers admit it can be difficult to follow the trail, but some said it’s worth the views of neighboring Snow Canyon.

“Every time I’ve hiked it, I’ve improved on it,” hiker Bob Lyman said. “And I’ve found what I finally think is the trail.”

Cashin said one of the most important things people can do when going out on a trail they haven’t done before is talk to people who have done it, so they know exactly what to expect. He also recommends being over prepared; take more equipment than you think you’ll need, and plan for extra time.