Body found in Smokies identified as missing 62-year-old hiker

GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK (WATE) – Park rangers at the Great Smoky Mountain National Park have positively identified the body they found as 62-year-old Jenny Bennett.

Bennett’s body discovered Monday morning, a day after she was reported missing. Park rangers found her near Potters Creek Trail in the Greenbrier area of the park, an area she has hiked before.

“[We found her] near a river, off trail, about half a mile above backcountry campsite,” said park spokesperson Dana Soehn. “Jenny was known as an avid off trail hiker so that’s presumed where we believed her to be.”

It is those off trail hikes rangers say are especially dangerous.

“We never recommend it because it’s difficult to get where you think you are going in the terrain we have along with all the rhododendron and the dense vegetation cover that we have,” said Soehn.

There is no word yet on what caused Bennett’s death.

“This is a very rare occasion. We are always deeply saddened when there’s a loss of life especially somebody who has spent so many years enjoying and loving and hiking in this park,” said Soehn.

She was known for her love of the Smoky Mountains chronicling her many backcountry hikes on her blog.

A blog entry also mentioned an injured knee and that she was battling depression because of a planned move away from the Smokies.

Bennett’s family have been notified.

A team of investigators are determining the cause of her death, but they believe it’s not suspicious.

Slideshow: Photos of Jenny Bennett


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