Death of teenage hiker in Nevada County prompts warning to outdoor trekkers

The death of a teenage hiker in Nevada County over the Memorial Day weekend has led sheriff’s officials to urge caution when exploring the county’s wilderness areas and trails.

Nevada County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched about 11:58 a.m. Sunday to the area of Weaver Lake Lodge regarding a male who had fallen from a cliff and died of his injuries. Jake Edward Morales, 16, of Nevada City, was hiking alone on a trail and was later found at the bottom of a steep cliff, face down in a creek, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release. Sheriff’s officials said it appeared that he was traversing a cliff with a nearby waterfall and cave when he lost his footing and fell to the creek below.

Nevada County’s terrain constantly changes due to weather and environmental conditions. Sheriff’s officials warn that hiking, traversing or running over boulders in remote areas can be dangerous due to loose, slippery and wet rocks, gravel, foliage and narrow ledges. They also advise people to be wary of rivers creeks and waterways, which are inviting on a hot summer day but also can be dangerous. People are urged to use caution when jumping, diving or wading as the water may be faster, shallower or colder than it looks.

Officials also stress the importance of wearing proper clothing for the conditions and making sure someone knows the location of the planned outing.