Increased bone turnover has been suggested as a potential risk factor for osteoporotic fractures. We investigated this hypothesis in a prospective cohort study performed on 7598 healthy women more than 75 years of age. One hundred and twenty‐six women (mean years 82.5) who sustained a hip fracture during a mean 22‐month follow‐up were age‐matched with three controls who did not fracture. Baseline samples were collected prior to fracture for the measurement of two markers of bone formation and three urinary markers of bone resorption: type I collagen cross‐linked N‐ (NTX) or C‐telopeptide (CTX) and free deoxypyridinoline (free D‐Pyr). Elderly women had increased bone formation and resorption compared with healthy premenopausal women. Urinary excretion of CTX and free D‐Pyr, but not other markers, was higher in patients with hip fracture than in age‐matched controls (p = 0.02 and 0.005, respectively). CTX and free D‐Pyr excretion above the upper limit of the premenopausal range was associated with an increased hip fracture risk with an odds ratio (95% confidence interval) of 2.2 (1.3‐3.6) and 1.9 (1.1‐3.2), respectively, while markers of formation were not. Increased bone resorption predicted hip fracture independently of bone mass, i.e., after adjustment for femoral neck bone mineral density (BMD) and independently of mobility status assessed by the gait speed. Women with both a femoral BMD value of 2.5 SD or more below the mean of young adults and either high CTX or high free D‐Pyr levels were at greater risk of hip fracture, with an odds ratio of 4.8 and 4.1, respectively, than those with only low BMD or high bone resorption. Elderly women are characterized by increased bone turnover, and some markers of bone resorption predict the subsequent risk of hip fracture independently of hip BMD. Combining the measurement of BMD and bone resorption may be useful to improve the assessment of the risk of hip fracture in elderly women.