16 hikers, mostly kids, stranded overnight on long distance hiking trail

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The group was wet, cold and suffering from blisters after attempting to hike on the 40-mile trail (Image credit: Getty)

A large group of hikers – most of whom were minors – spent an uncomfortable night on the trail on Thursday after finding themselves too wet and cold to continue. The incident took place on southern Oregon's Rogue River Trail on March 28, a rugged 40-mile trail that traverses the Rogue River between Grave Creek and Big Bend.

According to a Facebook post, Curry County Sheriff’s Office received an alert from Garmin International, which makes GPS technology accessible via wearable devices such as Garmin watches and the InReach Mini, at about 7:55 p.m. The alert reported that Garmin had received an SOS notification from subscriber Ryan Olsen of Coos Bay, OR stating that the group of 14 was near Tucker Flats and the Rogue River Ranch, about 22 miles from Grave Creek.

"Dispatch was able to gather information that the group were all wet and cold due to the inclement weather and that some of the boys had blisters on their feet and not able to continue."

Dispatch was able to make contact with another adult member of the group, however they had left earlier to escort out another juvenile who was unwell. Given the terrain and late hour, it was determined that rescue teams would have to wait until the following morning.

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The trail is rated as difficult due to high water in creeks (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)

On Friday morning, search and rescue deployed using a Forest Service Boat and navigated the river to Gleason Bar, from where they hiked for around four miles to find the group, which turned out to be 16 individuals total. The group was able to hike to the boat, where they were transported to shuttle vehicles in groups.

According to the BLM, the Rogue River Trail is rated difficult due to its remoteness, cliffs, downed trees, landslides and high water in creeks. The average hiker takes between four and five days to complete the hike.

When setting off on a long hike, make sure you are amply prepared with a satellite communicator and carry protective gear such as a waterproof jacket and rain pants. For very wet conditions, it's also worth bringing a tarp to create a temporary shelter as at some point, your gear will wet out. Make sure your hiking boots are well-fitting, and read our guide on how to prevent blisters, which can become more troublesome when your feet get wet.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.