A hiker was found dead Saturday below one of the trails in Linville Gorge Wilderness area in western North Carolina, according to Burke County Search And Rescue.
The identity of the hiker and cause of death have not been released.
Burke County officials report the victim was involved in “a long fall in the area of Babel Tower” around 12:32 p.m. Saturday. The wilderness area is about 65 miles northeast of Asheville.
First responders “hiked over a mile in to the incident location but unfortunately the victim was deceased upon arrival,” officials said Monday. Details were being withheld as part of an ongoing investigation.
Multiple departments assisted in the recovery effort, officials said, including a helicopter team.
The trail to Babel Tower pinnacle is one of the most popular and difficult trails in Linville Gorge, according to HikingUpward, which says it ascends more 1,500 feet “over rocky terrain” and the tower rock formation rises more than “400 feet above a giant horseshoe curve in the river.”
“Many scramble paths lead to outstanding cliff side views south of Table Rock Mountain hovering above the gorge,” HikingUpward reports.
Linville Gorge is a section of Pisgah National Forest that was carved by the Linville River and “drops 2,000 feet” below the surrounding mountain ridges, the U.S Department of Agriculture says.
“The terrain is steep and rugged with numerous rock formations,” USDA says. “It is covered by dense hardwood/pine forest.”