An investigation is underway to determine the cause of death of a hiker
found along a trail in Yellowstone National Park.
Early Friday afternoon, a pair of hikers reported finding what they believed to be the body of a human male along the eastern section of the Mary Mountain Trail, a 21-mile trail between Hayden Valley and the Lower Geyser Basin in the central section of the park.
Park rangers responding to the scene found the deceased victim along the trail about five miles west of the Hayden Valley trailhead. There were signs of grizzly bear activity at the scene. Nothing uncovered so far allows for a conclusive cause of death, which apparently occurred on Wednesday or Thursday.
The identity of the victim, a man approximately 60 years of age from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is being withheld pending notification of family members.
An aerial search of the area Saturday morning failed to turn up any current bear activity.
The Mary Mountain Trail, the Cygnet Lakes Trail, and the section of the Hayden Valley west of the Grand Loop Road have been closed to hikers.
Park rangers, wildlife biologists, and park management are continuing the investigation and discussing management options as more details emerge.
The Park is advising visitors to stay on designated trails, hike in groups of three or more people, be alert for bears, make noise, carry bear pepper spray, and not to run upon encountering a bear. Hikers and backcountry users are encouraged to check with staff at park visitor centers or backcountry offices for updated information before planning trips in the central portion of the park.