Death of hiker ruled accidental

A 46-year-old hiker whose body was found Saturday at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area died after falling several hundred feet, authorities said Wednesday.

The death of hiker Ronald Kirk has been ruled an accident, according to the Clark County coroner's office. Investigators think Kirk was killed instantly in the fall, but his body had been missing since late January.

Family members are planning a memorial at a picnic area near where Kirk's body was found. His brother, Garnett Kirk, said the memorial will be at 4 p.m. Friday at the Red Springs picnic area in Calico Basin off State Route 159.

Ronald Kirk sent a text message to family members that he was going hiking several days before he was reported missing Jan. 22.

Kirk served in the Marine Corps and developed a reputation as an adventurous hiker and trail runner. His friends and family told stories of Kirk running for miles barefoot, suffering bashed out teeth one day and hiking the next, and always looking for the trail less traveled.

Hundreds of volunteers joined the hunt for Kirk, but police said his body was found by "happenstance" Saturday in an area that already had been searched by rescuers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.