Hiker makes gruesome discovery at remote Colorado campsite

Twisting Road Through Gunnison National Forest Colorado
Sheriff's office officials are trying to identify the remains of three mummified corpses unearthed at a remote campsite (Image credit: Teresa Kopec)

A hiker made a chilling discovery whilst exploring Colorado’s Gunnison National Forest over the weekend, when they stumbled across the remains of a severely decomposed body. When the Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene the following day, officers discovered the remains of two more bodies.

The hiker was walking near Gold Creek Campsite, a remote campsite 30 miles northeast of Gunnison on the edge of the Fossil Ridge Wilderness Area, when they made the shocking discovery. Sheriff’s office officials were quick to alleviate public concern about immediate safety dangers, saying in a press release that the severely decomposed condition of the bodies led them to believe they had been there for some time.

“It appeared the individuals have been deceased for a substantial period of time. The identities of the deceased individuals are not being released at this time. The cause of the three individual’s deaths is pending the completion of an autopsy. There are no known risks to residents or outdoor enthusiasts recreating in the area associated with this unfortunate event.”

The Colorado Sun is reporting that the hiker initially noticed the camp, including a blue tent and a lean-to, before going closer to investigate and noticing the mummified remains. They also report that sheriff officials initially suspect the bodies are of three campers who may have attempted to survive the winter in the wild and succumbed to exposure or starvation.

Like many Colorado campgrounds, Gold Creek Campground is closed during the winter months when it is buried under feet of snow, and only reopened in late May, which may explain how the bodies had gone unnoticed for such an extended period of time. Furthermore, the campsite is not visible from the nearby Forest Service road and would have been easy to miss by forest rangers. According to the Forest Service, the campground experiences only light use, owing to its remote location, and doesn’t require reservations, so there are no official records showing when the presumed campers arrived.

Officials are now trying to determine the identities of the three campers while autopsy results to determine the cause of death are pending.

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.