The body of the man, later identified as Ed Brown, 41, was discovered at about 10:45 a.m. that Friday morning by two mountain bikers, according to Sara Hinds, a hiker who came upon the bikers just after they found the body.
Hinds said the body was found in a small offshoot of a popular mile-and-a-half trail.
"We walked up closer and I said, 'We need to call 911,'" she said. Hinds did and remained on her cell phone while the bikers, who could travel more quickly, went to guide police to the scene.
She said the man was "nicely dressed" in running gear, and noted that he was wearing a wedding ring.
Hinds described the discovery and the aftermath as "surreal."
"There were all these cows around the tree, almost like they were protecting him," she said.