26-Year-Old Newlywed Dead After Falling from Utah Trail: He Was 'Living Life to the Fullest'

Andrew Acuff, an avid adventurer, fell from a "dangerous" trail while hiking in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Sunday

andrew acuff
Photo: Facebook

A 26-year-old outdoorsman who got married last month has died after falling about 200 feet from a hiking trail police consider dangerous.

According to KSL-TV, Andrew Acuff was found dead on Sunday after he fell down a 40-degree slope while hiking on the Wasatch-Uintah Ridgeline Trail in Utah's Little Cottonwood Canyon. His body had to be lifted out of the area by helicopter after he was located by friends, KUTV and the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

In a post to Facebook, Acuff's uncle, Mike Acuff, said his nephew had recently gotten married and had completed physical therapy school. Acuff was "living life to the fullest," he said.

"There are so many memories that have been flooding my mind the last 24 hours, but they have a common theme," Mike wrote in his post. "Andrew was Courageous, Loyal, Funny, Loving, Smart, Athletic, and so much more."

"Time with family and friends is extremely undervalued and you have no idea when it will be the last time you talk or see a loved one," he added, in part. "Please keep my brother's family and our whole family in your prayers as we work through this difficult time.RIP Andrew.. I Love You and I will see you soon."

Acuff's final Instagram post on Aug. 3 showed him and his partner sharing a kiss at North Cascades National Park in Washington.

"There is nobody I would rather spend the rest of my life with," he captioned the photograph. "You make every day an adventure and push me to be my very best self and chase my dreams."

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Acuff was no stranger to adventure, and his Instagram account shows dozens of posts from national parks across the country.

But the area he was in on Sunday is known to be dangerous, police told the Tribune. It has also become increasingly popular.

"(It's) a popular route this year and getting more popular every year. The top of the ridgeline is very narrow, and steep on both sides in many places. And that's where the accident happened," Salt Lake County Search and Rescue crew member Todd Taylor told KUTV.

"It's certainly increasing. Just the numbers of people that are doing the [Wasatch Ultimate Ridge Linkup]. And part of it is they're trying to go fast. It's a long route, and they want to do it as quick as possible. So that's part of it," he added.

Underneath one of Acuff's Instagram posts, a commenter shared how much Acuff helped their father-in-law in physical therapy after he suffered stroke.

"My father-in-law suffered a COVID stroke in February. Since April, Andrew has been his therapist and helper," the commenter wrote. "Andrew helped him regain strength and movement over the last six months and became a friend to my father-in-law and our family."

"Our heart is broken today as we celebrate and mourn the loss of a man who made such a difference in the lives of others," they added. "Andrew was a helper and we'll be forever grateful."

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