California hiker bitten by rattlesnake on popular trail

A rattlesnake in the sand by a leather boot
The 66-year-old woman was airlifted to a nearby hospital following the incident (Image credit: liveslow)

We recently reported that rattlesnake season is here, prompting hikers in western states to be extra vigilant on the trail, however a California woman found herself struck by a rattler on the trail just yesterday.

According to reporting by NBC Los Angeles, the 66-year-old woman was hiking on the Hidden Valley Trail near Murrieta in Riverside County yesterday morning when the incident took place. The Riverside Fire Department received the call at 10:27 a.m. and learned that the woman was just half a mile from the trailhead when the snake bit her in the lower leg.

Fortunately, she was able to find a safe place to rest while other hikers alerted the authorities. After receiving emergency treatment in the field, she was airlifted to the nearest hospital, approximately five minutes away. The fire department reported yesterday that she was in stable condition.

Eastern diamondback rattlesnake

The woman was just half a mile from the trailhead when the snake bit her in the lower leg (Image credit: Getty)

Rattlesnake safety

This incident serves as a warning to hikers in all states where rattlesnakes are found, but particularly in Arizona, Texas, California and New Mexico. Rattlesnake activity rises with the temperatures, and they are most active between April and October, however back in February we reported on a rattlesnake bite on an Arizona trail.

Your first sign may be the characteristic rattle, but snakes sometimes attack without warning, or the alert may come too late for you to react. When hiking, US Forest Service advises you to protect yourself from such accidental encounters by wearing proper hiking boots and hiking socks with long hiking pants. It's safest to stick to well-used trails and avoid wading through tall grass or bushes where snakes may be hiding. Make sure you are aware of where you're walking, and don't put your feet or hands anywhere you can't see. Learn more in our article on what to do if you see a snake on the trail.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for 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.