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UPDATE: Hikers rescued; Devil's Bathtub trails temporarily closed

Staff report • May 25, 2020 at 12:37 AM

As of mid-day Monday, rescue crews report all 20 hikers stranded in the Devil’s Bathtub area of Scott County since late Sunday have been brought to safety.

Rescue crews from throughout the region worked from Sunday evening through mid-day Monday to rescue the 20 hikers who became stranded when heavy rains caused flash flooding along the trail’s numerous water crossings.

The National Forest Service said Devil's Fork Loop Trail and Straight Fork Trail in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests — both which access Devil’s Bathtub in Scott County — are temporarily closed due to the flooding. 


The Fort Blackmore Fire Department updated its Facebook page to request people “Continue to keep all our rescue personnel and the remaining stranded hikers in your prayers. There are still multiple agencies at the Devils Bathtub trying to rescue the hikers, they have been working this call going on 14 hours now.”

Fort Blackmore VFD said strong thunderstorns passed through the area Sunday evening causing flash flooding in many areas.

“The numerous creeks on the Bathtub trail rose quickly, making them impassable. At first, we were advised there were 12 hikers stranded. Once on scene, that number rose as we made voice contact with others farther up on the trail.”

The Appalachia Fire Department Swiftwater Rescue Team provided an update on its Facebook page to say it was deployed to assist Scott County late Sunday evening at the Devils Bathtub for stranded hikers due to heavy rainfall.

“The AFD SRT was able to make access across the stream and a rope rescue high line was put in place over the high and fast moving water. AFD successfully brought 7 individuals and 1 dog across the high line. Several more people are unaccounted for. AFD has been relieved this morning by the Bristol FD SRT who will be on location attempting to locate the remaining hikers.”


FORT BLACKMORE —The Fort Blackmore Volunteer Fire Department is reporting multiple hikers are stranded on trails in the Devil's Bathtub area of Scott County after an evening thunderstorm came through the area causing creeks to rise quickly.

Multiple agencies, including swift water rescue teams, Duffield Fire and Rescue, Norton Rescue Squad, and the Appalachia, Gate City and Norton fire departments, are on the scene to assist the stranded hikers. According to reports from multiple agencies, the hikers are in different areas of the trail which became impassable due to flash flooding following heavy rain.

At approximately 11:30 p.m., the Fort Blackmore VFD reported eight hikers had been rescued and “around 20” are still stranded.

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