Hikers found safe after becoming lost for three days in National Forest

Cherokee National Forest
(Image credit: Getty)

Two brothers have been found safe after becoming lost for three days in Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee. Sean and Ryan McClain set out for a four-hour hike, but lost the trail they were following and were unable to find their way back.

As WBIR reports, the two men were experienced hikers and set out along a trail popular with backpackers and birders, but became disoriented due to thick vegetation that obscured the marked route.

"There was so much brush in there we couldn't even find the trail while we were still on it," Ryan said.

Things were made even worse by persistent rain, which continued for two days. "There's no sunshine for two days solid, just raining all the time," Sean said. 

"We was drenched. We were drowning rats," Ryan added. 

Collapsed trail

The Grassy Gap Trail is generally regarded as moderately challenging, but commenters on AllTrails have noted that the trail has collapsed at one point and become overgrown by vegetation.

"Everything on you is hurting. Your bones are hurting from sleeping on the ground soaking wet, and your whole body is aching, but staying out there wasn't going to help you," said Sean.

"I just kept telling him I was sorry for getting him into this," said Ryan.

Rescuers eventually found the pair of Wednesday, exhausted, dehydrated and hungry, but uninjured. They don't plan to go hiking again without emergency gear, and advise others to always prepare for the worst when heading out on the trails.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.