Washington State Has Two Of The 'Most Dangerous' National Parks In The U.S.

North Cascades Mountain View

Photo: Lidija Kamansky / Moment / Getty Images

National parks have a long, rich history in the United States. Many venture to these parks to immerse themselves in nature, engage in thrilling activities, or view gorgeous landscapes. Visiting national parks can come with some danger, as well, especially since hundreds of people get hurt, go missing, or even lose their lives for several reasons every year.

That's why outdoor sports apparel brand KHÜL compiled a list of the safest and most dangerous national parks in the United States. Analysts determined their picks based on several key safety indicators for each park, including total deaths from 2007 to 2023, search and rescue operations, number of missing persons, visitor statistics, trail closures and alerts due to animals, number of park rangers, and proximity to hospitals. They sourced their information from the National Park Service's website and Google Maps.

Two popular national parks in Washington State landed on the lower end of the list, making them some of the least safe in the nation. North Cascades National Park saw 24 deaths over the last 16 years, and 216 search and rescue operations between 2013 and 2020. Mount Rainier National Park also broke into the Top 10 most dangerous for having 69 deaths and 298 search and rescue missions during the same time frame.

Gateway Arch National Park was crowned the safest national park in the nation, while the beloved Grand Canyon National Park ranked as the least safe.

Here are the Top 10 most dangerous national parks, according to the study:

  1. Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)
  2. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve (Alaska)
  3. Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)
  4. North Cascades National Park (Washington)
  5. Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida)
  6. Big Bend National Park (Texas)
  7. Denali National Park & Preserve (Alaska)
  8. Kings Canyon National Park (California)
  9. Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Texas)
  10. Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

Check out the full report on KHÜL's website.

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