Outdoor clothing brand KÜHL compiled data to find the deadliest national parks in America. To obtain results, they analyzed variables including the total number of deaths recorded within the park; the number of people reported missing within the park; the number of search and rescue operations conducted on the property; the presence of forest rangers to guests; distance from hospitals; and trail alerts.
KÜHL noted that the top five deadliest parks “scored highly on the danger scale due to a higher number of search and rescue missions, higher incidents of trail closures, fatal incident rates,” and a lack of nearby hospitals.
The most dangerous national park was found to be the Grand Canyon. According to the report, one in every 503,000 visitors is at risk of dying when they come to the park. 165 visitors have perished at the Grand Canyon between 2007 and 2023, and five have gone missing in that period.
Arkansas’ Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve ranked second, with KÜHL noting the park is “a challenging terrain even for seasoned explorers.” 127 experienced adventurers have died at the park since 2007.
Michigan’s Isle Royale National Park ranked third, with only one park ranger to oversee the safety of nearly 2,000 daily visitors. Washington’s North Cascades National Park, which sees an average of 31 search and rescue missions every year, came in fourth. The state's Mount Ranier National Park also ranked ninth. Fifth place went to Florida’s Dry Tortugas National Park, which has only two park rangers and zero nearby hospitals.
The study also determined the safest national parks, with Minnesota’s Gateway Arch taking the gold. Calling it “a beacon of safety among national parks,” the study noted it has seen zero deaths or missing persons, and is located near a whopping 14 hospitals. Arizona’s Petrified Forest was found to be the second safest. In third place, Alaska’s Kobuk Valley boasts a lifetime total of zero deaths, missing persons, or search and rescue missions.
Below, you can find the top 10 deadliest national parks in America. You can view KÜHL’s full list of results here.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Wrangell-St.Elias National Park & Preserve, Alaska
Isle Royal National Park, Michigan
North Cascades National Park, Washington
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
Big Bend National Park, Texas
Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska
Kings Canyon National Park, California
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Mount Ranier National Park, Washington