• Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park hosts 505 search and rescue missions resulting from its huge measurement and recognition amongst guests.
  • Zion Nationwide Park information 639 SAR missions, primarily attributable to falls and dehydration because of the misleading altitude and slick sandstone.
  • With 1,085 SAR missions, Sequoia & Kings Canyon Nationwide Parks face falling as the primary reason for damage and demise.

Nationwide parks are a favourite for vacationers all around the world. Defending ecologically and traditionally important areas, the 63 nationwide parks across the US are filled with a few of the most extreme hikes in the country, with surroundings discovered nowhere else on the planet. Yr after 12 months, tens of millions of holiday makers make their method into these parks, hoping to catch a glimpse of those iconic areas.

With a lot pleasure and so many individuals, accidents are certain to occur. Slips, journeys, and all-out crashes are all part of the truth of visiting nationwide parks. Whereas many of those incidents are non-events, a whole lot of individuals discover themselves in additional critical hassle. For vacationers who’ve discovered themselves misplaced or injured within the park, search and rescue (SAR) groups leap into motion, risking their very own lives to deliver others dwelling.

The next US nationwide parks recorded probably the most search and rescue missions between 2013 and 2020, the latest knowledge obtainable from the Nationwide Park Service (NPS). Whereas it could be straightforward to jot down off these places as the most dangerous national parks in the US, it is very important perceive the relative numbers. All of those nationwide parks have excessive visitation, making it extra seemingly for accidents to occur.


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7 Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park, North Carolina / Tennessee

Search and Rescue Missions: 505

Contemplating Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park is probably the most visited nationwide park within the US, with thrice as many company as the following most-visited park (Grand Canyon), it is truly very spectacular that it is not greater on the record.

The Nice Smoky Mountains span a number of states, with winding scenic drives and over 4,000 miles of mountaineering trails. Thought-about one in every of the best US national parks for hiking, Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park additionally intersects with the well-known Appalachian Path.

Despite the fact that the ratio of holiday makers to SAR missions is comparatively low, there are nonetheless loads of issues to contemplate earlier than coming into the park. A majority of searches and rescues occurred because a hiker wandered off the trail.

At all times a mistake, many hikers then compound the difficulty by looking for their method again alone, as an alternative of staying put. In a park as huge because the Nice Smoky Mountains, making an attempt to go it alone can rapidly flip a search and rescue right into a restoration.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Whole Guests (2023)


Whole Fatalities (2007-2023)


Chilly Instances


Main Causes of SAR Missions

Going off-trail, Extreme climate conflicts

6 Zion Nationwide Park, Utah

Search and Rescue Missions: 639

Zion Nationwide Park is dwelling to Angels Landing, the most dangerous hike in the US, so it is maybe no shock that loads of search and rescue missions happen within the park every year. The luxurious surroundings of Zion Canyon lulls hikers into believing they’re having fun with a pleasant canyon stroll.

The fact, nonetheless, is that Zion Nationwide Park sits at a deceptively excessive altitude, and lots of the trails that go up the canyon rim climb over 1,000 ft in elevation in simply a few miles.

The end result? Dehydrated, over-exerted hikers on busy trails with no fast method to get aid. This disorientation can even result in falls, which is one other main accident kind in Zion Nationwide Park.

The sandstone that creates the colourful purple impact in Zion can be very slick, crushing into wonderful sand and getting slippery when moist. In both state of affairs, a misplaced boot can rapidly flip disastrous.

Zion National Park

Whole Guests (2023)


Whole Fatalities (2007-2023)


Chilly Instances


Main Causes of SAR Missions

Falls, Dehydration, Altitude illness


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5 Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park, Colorado

Search and Rescue Missions: 818

Nationwide parks with a excessive proportion of average and troublesome mountaineering trails are likely to see greater than their fair proportion of rescue missions. Such is the case with Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park, whose excessive altitude and mountainous terrain create good situations for accidents.

A easy twisted ankle rapidly turns into an emergency state of affairs in Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park, and a couple of hiker has turn out to be stranded with a seemingly minor damage. In these circumstances, a search and rescue mission is the one choice.

Contemplating Rocky Mountain was the fifth most-visited nationwide park in 2023 and averages practically 4 million company every year.

With these enormous visitation numbers in thoughts, Rocky Mountain is definitely one of many safer nationwide parks on this record.

Make no mistake, nonetheless. Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park nonetheless has two unsolved lacking individuals circumstances, together with the latest chilly case within the NPS database.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Whole Guests (2023)


Whole Fatalities (2007-2023)


Chilly Instances


Main Causes of SAR Missions

Falls, Swept away by water, Going off-trail, Altitude illness

4 Yellowstone Nationwide Park, Wyoming

Search and Rescue Missions: 881

One in all the oldest national parks in the US, Yellowstone Nationwide Park is not any stranger to park incidents. Not a summer season goes by with out a number of tales of careless vacationers goading the bison into a totally justified response.

Relating to search and rescue missions in Yellowstone, the water is commonly the most important perpetrator. Adventurers out on the lakes might be laborious to maintain monitor of, and the ever-changing climate can rapidly blow a canoe off-course.

SAR groups additionally need to take care of the massive measurement of Yellowstone. Backpackers in probably the most distant corners of the park can, and have, run into hassle.

Steadily, nobody even is aware of one thing is flawed till the hiker is overdue. By then, the search space is big, which is why circumstances way back to 1991 are nonetheless open.

Yellowstone National Park

Whole Guests (2023)


Whole Fatalities (2007-2023)


Chilly Instances


Main Causes of SAR Missions

Going off-trail, Extreme climate conflicts

Going lacking close to Yellowstone’s geothermal areas is a surefire method to find yourself on the chilly case record. Quite a few individuals have gone lacking, and the one proof of what occurred is a shoe close to the acidic, boiling water of those mud pots and steam vents.

3 Sequoia & Kings Canyon Nationwide Parks, California

Search and Rescue Missions: 1,085

Sequoia and Kings Canyon are two separate nationwide parks, however guests can leap freely between the 2, and they’re serviced by lots of the similar rangers and rescue groups, so their knowledge is mixed. It appears twice the world means twice the difficulty, and these adjoining parks have reported over 1,000 search and rescue missions since 2013.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon could also be identified for his or her big bushes, however the main reason for damage and demise is falling. The mountainous terrain, stored moist by the towering evergreens, could make even the steadiest ft lose their grip.

Curiously, whereas Sequoia and Kings Canyon do not see probably the most search and rescue missions of any California park, they do have the very best mortality fee of any California nationwide park, which is the share of holiday makers who die within the park. All of the extra purpose to stay to the established trails.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Whole Guests (2023)

1,623,632 (mixed)

Whole Fatalities (2007-2023)


Chilly Instances


Main Causes of SAR Missions

Falls, Swept away by water, Going off-trail

2 Grand Canyon Nationwide Park, Arizona

Search and Rescue Missions: 1,629

Acquired a concern of heights? The Grand Canyon’s lengthy record of search and rescue missions could set off one. Over 1,600 search and rescue operations have been carried out within the Grand Canyon between 2013 and 2020. The Grand Canyon has additionally seen probably the most search and rescues in recent times, with 785 incidents between 2018 and 2020.

The massive crowds alongside slick cliff edges are one of many largest culprits. Hikers slip down the edges, breaking bones and ending up stranded within the canyon. Many of those rescue operations require a helicopter, even for non-life-threatening accidents, because of the inhospitable nature of the park.

The trick to staying protected in Grand Canyon Nationwide Park is to not underestimate the weather.

The Grand Canyon is a excessive desert, and even quick trails might be reasonably difficult because of the warmth, elevation, and incline on the return.

Grand Canyon National Park

Whole Guests (2023)


Whole Fatalities (2007-2023)


Chilly Instances


Main Causes of SAR Missions

Falls, Going off-trail, Dehydration


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1 Yosemite Nationwide Park, California

Search and Rescue Missions: 1,639

Yosemite Nationwide Park is a bit of paradise, with granite mountains, evergreen forests, speeding rivers, and dramatic waterfalls. Sadly, the whole lot that makes Yosemite lovely additionally makes it hazardous.

Misplaced steps on slick rocks close to a waterfall, rockslides alongside a mountain path, disorientation on a forest hike; it could possibly all go flawed in a second on this huge park. Consequently, Yosemite Nationwide Park has logged extra search and rescue missions than some other nationwide park within the US.

Essentially the most unsettling half? 33 missing persons cases in Yosemite are still open, greater than some other nationwide park.

The water and steep cliffs make it straightforward for misplaced vacationers to rapidly find yourself miles from the place they went lacking, proving difficult for SAR personnel.

Yosemite National Park

Whole Guests (2023)


Whole Fatalities (2007-2023)


Chilly Instances


Main Causes of SAR Missions

Falls, Going off-trail, Swept away by water

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