The woman was found dead Wednesday, and her husband — who was rescued — said the couple suffered hypothermia while hiking in Utah’s Zion National Park, officials said.
The two were discovered on Wednesday morning by visitors to the It narrows — a gorge believed to be the narrowest part of Zion Canyon, the National Park Service said in a news release Thursday.
The park service said the 31-year-old woman died at the scene and her 33-year-old husband was taken to the Zion Operations Center for treatment. No names were mentioned.
The pair went on a permitted 16-mile hike Tuesday, but became “dangerously cold overnight and experienced symptoms consistent with hypothermia,” the park service said.
The husband told park rangers that the pair stopped early Wednesday morning about a mile and a half from the north end of the Riverside Walk, a paved trail that leads from Temple Shinawawa to the Narrows. The husband went to get help, while the wife stayed, the park service said.
Visitors who came across the man helped him down the trail, while others went to his wife and administered CPR until search and rescue services arrived on the scene.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Utah State Medical Examiner are investigating the woman’s death along with the park service.
The Narrows is one of the most popular areas in Zion, according to the park service. However, to hike it, people have to follow the Virgin River, which is only 20-30 feet wide in some areas. Depending on the time of year, the park service explains on its website, the Virgin River can “range from ankle-deep to fully swimmable.”
“Flash floods and hypothermia are a constant danger,” the park service writes.
Tourists are not allowed to make the 16-mile hike up the Virgin River no wilderness permit.