DENVER (KDVR) — The Rocky Mountains are home to some of the most beautiful sights in Colorado. People hike every day, year-round. But some don’t come out.

One of the Rockies’ biggest mysteries is the unsolved disappearance in the case of James Pruitt. He set off for a day hike, but three days later, only his car was found.

On Feb. 28, 2019, Pruitt set off for a hike in the Rockies. He parked in the Glacier Gorge parking lot, grabbed his Nikon Coolpix 900 camera and a reddish-orange beanie and set off for the day around 10 a.m., according to the National Park Service Cold Cases.

A few days later, on March 3, U.S. Park Rangers found his vehicle, but there were no signs of Pruitt. The rangers contacted his family, who said they hadn’t seen or heard from him for three days. Worst of all, Pruitt had no intentions of staying over, his family said. This was only supposed to be a day hike.

By the time the National Park Service started the search, it had been three days, and over 2 feet of snow had fallen in the Glacier Gorge area. Any possible traces of Pruitt were unrecognizable.

After numerous rescue teams, ski patrol, aircrafts and search dogs scoured 15 miles of heavily forested areas, drainage systems, nearby trails and areas with chest-deep snow, the search turned to limited continuous operations on March 11 because of the extreme weather.

Searches throughout the summer and fall of 2019 came up empty. In 2023, James Pruitt is still a missing person. He was 70 years old when he went missing.

He’s described as a white male, 5 feet 6 inches tall and 150 pounds with blue eyes and brown/gray hair. He was believed to have been wearing a dark blue jacket, red/orange beanie-style hat and blue jeans, and he was carrying a small camera bag.

Highlighting cold cases in Colorado National Parks

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