MECCA HILLS: Eight rescued from “Ladder Canyon” in 2 separate incidents within 2 hours

MECCA HILLS – Eight people were rescued in two separate incidents that happened just two hours apart in the Painted Hills area of the Mecca Hills Wilderness Area Sunday, March 26. The area where the victims were rescued from is known as “Ladder Canyon.” The remote hiking area is south of Interstate 10 and east of Highway 86.

Ladder Canyon is named for the numerous ladders needed to hike through the area. Pinterest photo

In both of Sunday’s remote-area rescues, a California Highway Patrol helicopter responded to the area and located the hikers. The helicopter was able to land and safely rescue the eight hikers.

The first incident was reported about 5:00 p.m., as two lost female hikers, Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Daniel Porras said in a written press release after the incidents.

The two women, who are both residents of Fontana, had called 911 for assistance when they realized they had become lost while hiking in the area.

The second incident was reported about two hours later at 7:17 p.m. The 911 caller reported two men and four women, all from Running Springs, had become lost while hiking in the same area.

All eight victims were evaluated by medics after the rescues and all declined further treatment.

There were no reported injuries from either of the two incidents.

Three other victims were rescued from the same area just two weeks earlier, on Sunday, March 12, when the women became lost while hiking.

“The three female hikers, all residents of the Coachella Valley and in their early twenties, called 911 when it became dark and they realized they were lost,” an official explained at the time.

In that incident, a Sheriff’s Aviation Unit helicopter responded to the area and quickly located the hikers; however, they were unable to land the helicopter and assist with the evacuation.

Aviation crew members relayed the location of the trio to volunteer members from Riverside County’s Desert Search and Rescue who responded to the area to assist in the rescue.

When they arrived, search and rescue members hiked into the canyon and helped guide the three hikers out to safety.

There were no reported injuries from that incident.

Porras took the opportunity to remind hiking enthusiasts to always carry proper equipment for any outdoor excursions.

“Proper preparation includes a well thought-out travel plan shared with friends and family, as well as familiarity with common hiking equipment, such as GPS, maps and compasses,” Porras wrote.


Contact the writer:

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Trevor Montgomery runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News and Anza Valley Outlook and also writes for Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg and breaking his back in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 26 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 12 – soon to be 13 – grandchildren.



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