Arizona home to most dangerous national park in U.S. | Phoenix New Times

The most dangerous U.S. national park is right here in Arizona

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in southern Arizona has the most deaths per 1 million visits.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Ken Lund/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
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Arizona is home to America's most dangerous national park, according to a new study.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument records 25.27 deaths per 1 million visits, more than any other national park.

The numbers were crunched by personal injury litigators at Triumph Law, P.C., a Sacramento, California-area firm. Researchers looked at official fatality rates occurring in 153 popular national parks across America. The researchers evaluated official data from the U.S. National Park Service spanning 11 years, from the beginning of 2013 until the end of 2023.

The study also indicates that every 29 hours, someone dies in an American national park, most likely due to human factors. Every 11 days, a hiker perishes in a national park.

Located at Arizona’s southern border with Mexico, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument has 215,881 visitors every year, on average. While it is in the bottom 15% of the parks included in the study in terms of attendance, its mortality rates are strikingly high, counting 60 since 2013. This means that, over the course of 11 years, every 38,904th visit to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument ended in death.

The Virgin Islands are home to the second-most dangerous U.S. national park. The Virgin Islands National Park saw 33 people die since 2013, averaging three fatalities per year. This is unusually high for a park with relatively few visitors. Yearly mortality rates for parks with less than half a million visits per year average 0.56, meaning the Virgin Islands National Park is 535% more dangerous than parks with similar footfall levels.

The top 10 most dangerous U.S. National Parks are: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona; Virgin Islands National Park, U.S. Virgin Islands; Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River, Pennsylvania and New York; Colorado National Monument, Colorado; Big Bend National Park, Texas; Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska; New River Gorge National River, West Virginia; Redwood National and State Parks, California; Death Valley National Park; and Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, California.

The top 10 safest U.S. National Parks are: Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.; Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York; Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C.; Gateway Arch National Park, Missouri; San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, California; Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Washington; Independence National Historical Park, Pennsylvania; Muir Woods National Monument, California; Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, Alaska and Washington; and Boston National Historical Park, Massachusetts.
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