A family vacation to a national park can quickly turn into an emergency, as many parks are known for their unpredictable weather conditions, challenging terrain, and dangerous wildlife. They can also attract tourists new to hiking and underestimate the risks of exploring the wilderness. To see where visitors are most likely to get into trouble, check out this list of America’s most dangerous national parks.
Outforia obtained data from the National Parks Authority to compile this list of national park properties with the most search and rescue incidents between 2018 and 2020. Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona tops the list, with 785 incidents reported at the end of the last decade. The Grand Canyon is the second most visited park in the system behind the Great Smoky Mountains. It also offers challenging hikes in and around the canyon that can be catastrophic for amateur hikers. Of the hundreds of cases included in the report, only four remain open.
Yosemite National Park in California comes next, which recorded 732 search and rescue incidents from 2018 to 2020. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California recorded 503 incidents, and Yellowstone in Wyoming, the Montana and Idaho recorded 371.
Although the vast majority of these cases have been resolved, many people missing in national parks are never found. This is more a testament to the ease of getting lost in the wilderness than to any supernatural plot, as some do. urban legends to suggest.
Regardless of your experience level, the list below is a good reminder to stick to the trail on your next visit to a national park. Here are more facts about the country’s most popular national parks.
- Grand Canyon National Park // Arizona
- Yosemite National Park // California
- Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks // California
- Yellowstone National Park // Wyoming, Montana, Idaho
- Rocky Mountain National Park // Colorado
- Zion National Park // Utah
- Glen Canyon National Recreation Area // Utah
- Grand Teton National Park // Wyoming
- Olympic National Park // Washington
- Arches National Park // Utah
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park // Tennessee, North Carolina
- Glacier National Park // Montana
- Mount Rainer National Park // Washington
- Jewel Cave National Monument // South Dakota
- Buffalo National River // Arkansas
- Shenandoah National Park // Virginia