Disappearance in the Grand Canyon: Glen and Bessie Hyde

The disappearance of Glen and Bessie Hyde is one of the enduring mysteries of the Grand Canyon. This young couple, desiring an exciting lifestyle that existence on the farm could never yield, sought to emulate the numerous stories of adventure and exploration which flooded the tabloids of the 1920s by undertaking a honeymoon trip down the Colorado River, from Greenriver, Utah to Needles, Arizona. By completing this trek, Glen and Bessie believed they could kickstart a career of fame and fortune. Beginning their trek in late 1928, the Hydes interacted with many people as they progressed down the river, and they were last seen on November 18. Their boat was found drifting a month later, with no reliable trace of the couple to be found. Many theories have been put forward since their disappearance, but to this day, we cannot say for certain what happened to the Hydes. In an ironic and tragic way, the Hydes achieved their goal, as their disappearance and the air of mystery which continues to characterize it in the popular imagination keeps the couple at the forefront of Grand Canyon lore.

What follows is a selective tour of the Hyde’s journey, starting at the home where Glen and Bessie first lived as newlyweds and ending at the campsite where they were last positively seen. It includes brief historical overviews of each site as well as what the Hydes did when they were at these locations.

Since the couples’ ultimate fate remains unknown, this tour seeks to provide foundational information for viewers to better understand the basic facts of their journey, rather than push any one theory forward. By providing the basic story of this ill-fated couple, using both textual and visual sources, it is hoped viewers will possess enough evidence to come to their own conclusion.

Life at “the Murtaugh Place” and Longing for Adventure

Glen Hyde and Bessie Haley met on a ship steaming from San Francisco to Los Angles in the early summer of 1927, and it was clear to their friends and family that the two were immediately attracted to one another. Glen and Bessie were both…

Glen Hyde’s Prior River Experience

River travel was one of Glen Hyde's passions, born out of a childhood spent outdoors. In his first significant river excursion in 1919, Glen and his friend Jess Nebeker made a six-month canoe trip through the rivers of British Columbia and the…