US tourist found dead on NT hiking trail after taking wrong turn in 42C heat

An American tourist has died while hiking the popular Larapinta Trail, west of Alice Springs, as temperatures sweltered.

The 33-year-old Californian was reported missing late on Wednesday after taking a wrong turn on the trail near Mount Sonder.

His body was located at the base of the mountain just after 5pm and his death is not believed to be suspicious.

The American perished while hiking the track that runs west from Alice Springs to Mount Sonder along the West MacDonnell Ranges (pictured). Source: Getty
The American perished while hiking the track that runs west from Alice Springs to Mount Sonder along the West MacDonnell Ranges (pictured). Source: Getty

Police said the man and a 40-year-old companion became separated after they both climbed Mount Sonder, and were on the descent.

Mount Sonder is the fourth highest peak in the Northern Territory, and the section of the Larapinta Trail, which the pair were were on, was reportedly a steep, rocky incline.

"It's about 1,300 metres tall and the actual walk that they undertook was about 16 kilometres there and back — so quite a hike," Duty Superintendent Rob Burgoyne told ABC Darwin.

The 40-year-old man he was walking with told police the 33-year-old ran off on their way back and appeared to have taken a wrong turn.

"His partner made it back to the Redbank Gorge car park and raised the alarm, but unfortunately the 33 year-old didn't arrive and his body was eventually located about 400 metres down the track where he'd turned the wrong way.

"It was about three hours from when he was last seen and when his body was found," Supt Rob Burgoyne said.

"We do know he had water with him, but he did do a very foolish thing in that he apparently ran away from his companion after the descent," he said.

The Larapinta Trail from Alice Springs includes scaling 1,380m Mount Sonder (Pictured). Source: AAP
The Larapinta Trail from Alice Springs includes scaling 1,380m Mount Sonder (Pictured). Source: AAP

Police said the American embassy had been informed with a report to be prepared for the coroner.

"Investigations are ongoing, however, police do not believe there are any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death," Sen Sgt Potts said.

The Larapinta Trail is a 223-kilometre bushwalking track that runs west from Alice Springs to Mount Sonder along the West MacDonnell Ranges.

Temperatures reached 42C in Alice Springs on Wednesday, according to the Bureau of Meterology.

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