America is home to some of the most iconic tourist destinations on the planet, attracting visitors from far and wide. But a number of those locations are more dangerous than you might suspect. So, keeping that in mind, we’ve compiled a list that details 20 of the deadliest spots around the country.
20. Eagle’s Nest Cave
In the city of Weeki Wachee, Florida, you’ll find a picturesque bed of water known as the Eagle’s Nest. At first glance it appears to be just like any other lagoon, yet there’s more to it than that. Indeed, the area is actually home to an underwater cave that’s located some 300 feet below the surface.
On that note, the Eagle’s Nest Cave has developed quite the reputation down the years, with divers referring to it as their “Mount Everest.” And given how treacherous the conditions can get, people have unfortunately lost their lives while attempting to explore it. Over the last 39 years or so, a dozen individuals are said to have passed away in the water.
19. Death Valley
If you’ve ever visited California or Nevada, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard about Death Valley’s notoriety. This unforgiving stretch of land spans roughly 3,000 square miles in the middle of those two states – but that’s not all. In addition to its size, the valley has also recorded some dangerous temperatures for tourists to contend with.
In fact, Death Valley’s temperature once hit 134 °F back in July 1913, which hasn’t been topped anywhere since. The searingly hot conditions have unfortunately led to the deaths of several visitors down the years, with 2019 proving to be an especially difficult period. That August two people lost their lives across three days during a brutal heatwave in the valley.
18. Lake Mead
The Lake Mead National Recreation Area is one of the most visually interesting tourist spots in America. Located between Nevada and Arizona, the park is home to a bed of water that spans close to 300 square miles. It’s flanked, meanwhile, by rocky terrain. However, it’s not the safest place to visit.
According to documents obtained by the Outside Online website, more than 250 people died in the park between 2006 and 2016. Meanwhile, one of the tourist spot’s representatives unveiled a shocking statistic about the lake in September 2017. Christie Vanover told KTNV-TV, “There’s been 11 fatalities related to drowning, and [in] each of those situations none of the victims were wearing a lifejacket.”
17. The Space Needle
In Seattle, Washington, you’d be hard-pressed to name a more iconic landmark than the Space Needle. This stunning building was first constructed back in 1962, reaching a height of over 600 feet. But while it continues to dominate the city’s skyline today, the famous tower harbors a pretty dark past.
In 1974 two people committed suicide by leaping off the Space Needle, which led to the implementation of various precautions. Despite those efforts, though, a woman then became the third individual to take their own life there some four years later. After that, six more folks jumped from the structure, albeit with parachutes.
16. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Statistically, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most popular park of its type in the United States. Located in the middle of Tennessee and North Carolina, this area attracted over 11 million tourists back in 2017. The spot offers people the chance to explore hiking paths that span roughly 800 miles.
However, according to Outside Online, 60 visitors lost their lives in the park between 2006 and 2016. Seven more people were then added to the list by March 2017. To break things down even further, four of those individuals died in car crashes within the spot. As for the other three tourists, two of them were submerged in water, while the last person tumbled from a wall.
15. Angels Landing
It could be argued that Angels Landing is one of the most terrifying tourist spots on the planet. The precarious trail can be found in Utah’s Zion National Park, about 1,000 feet in the air. It’s an incredibly slim space, made even more dangerous by the lack of guardrails around the edge of it.
Keeping that in mind, a number of visitors have sadly lost their lives while trying to traverse Angels Landing. By April 2019 the park’s website had claimed that nine people had perished on the trail, before another tragedy hit the headlines some eight months later. At that time, a teenager died after plummeting off the edge.
14. The Empire State Building
New York is home to some of the world’s more recognizable landmarks, including the Empire State Building. This iconic structure was completed back in 1931, and it’s towered over the skyline ever since. Sadly, though, five workers lost their lives during the build – but the death toll doesn’t end there.
By December 2017 a reported 54 people had died in the Empire State Building. One of the biggest incidents occurred in 1945, when a plane accidentally flew into the side of the tower. Some 14 individuals perished that day, while many others have taken their own lives in the years since.
13. Yosemite National Park
Located in California, Yosemite National Park is a beautiful spot for tourists that love the great outdoors. However, 150 people died in the park between 2006 and 2016, according to Outside Online. A number of those were attributed to “natural causes,” as the unfortunate visitors tried to explore Yosemite’s vast trails.
But many other deaths have ties to Yosemite National Park’s centerpiece. It’s said that over 60 tourists have passed away near the famous Half Dome rock formation. The landmark is an imposing presence that can only be scaled via a cable footpath, which stretches to 400 feet in the air.
12. Volusia County
In addition to the theme parks, Florida houses several stunning beaches across the state too, bringing in visitors from far and wide. Volusia County is a very popular spot for that reason, as you can find both New Smyrna Beach and Daytona Beach there. Unfortunately, though, it’s not the safest of areas.
You see, Volusia County has recorded a number of shark attacks in the last few years. Back in 2017 nine people were confronted by the aquatic predator, while another three went through the same experience 12 months later. On that note, the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File claimed that no other location on Earth reported more.
11. Colorado rivers
If you love whitewater rafting, the rivers of Colorado could be the perfect place to engage your passion. Incredibly, more than 550,000 individuals traversed the choppy waters in 2016, highlighting its popularity. However, the conditions can become quite treacherous at certain times, which has led to tragedy in the past.
Sadly, 14 visitors were killed in the Colorado rivers back in 2014, before nine more people suffered the same fate a year later. The number went up again in 2016, as 11 individuals perished in the water. It’s believed that warmer weather might be contributing to the hazardous conditions, with the melted snow upsetting the waves.
10. Natchez Trace Parkway
The Natchez Trace Parkway is arguably one of the most unique tourist spots in America. Indeed, this stretch of road is over 400 miles long and runs across three different states. In total, it’s said that a single unbroken trip would last for around ten hours, allowing you to see Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Yet despite the beautiful views and surroundings, plenty of people have died on the Natchez Trace Parkway. According to Outside Online, 56 individuals lost their lives in the park between 2006 and 2016, most of which occurred in road accidents. And by March 2017 seven others joined that unfortunate list.
9. Acadia National Park
Located in Maine, the Acadia National Park is another picturesque spot for tourists to enjoy. This area is home to the famous Precipice Trail, which tests the skills of adventurous hikers. Due to the hazardous terrain, though, one visitor sadly died in 2012. Before that, 1985 had marked the last death on the path.
However, more people lost their lives after the incident in 2012. For instance, one man passed away when he completed a swim in the park’s lake in July 2016. Meanwhile, not long before that, another person tumbled off a ledge as they tried to snap a picture of the sun going down.
8. Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty
Away from the hustle and bustle of New York’s thriving city, Ellis Island and Liberty Island can be found on the water. The latter is home to the world-famous Statue of Liberty, while the former served an important function in the past. Indeed, it was the first port of call for more than 17 million foreign arrivals from 1892 up until 1954.
Alongside that, Ellis Island operated its own “Immigrant Hospital” between 1902 and 1930 as well. During that period, it was reported that roughly 3,500 patients passed away at the medical facility. As for the Statue of Liberty, three individuals have taken their own lives down the years, leaping off the landmark.
7. Action Park
Back in 1978 a new amusement park called Action Park opened up in New Jersey. From water slides to wave pools, guests were treated to some incredible attractions there, but it didn’t take long until people started to get hurt. In fact, over the next 18 years, Action Park developed a reputation as a particularly perilous spot.
To give you an example, over 100 injuries were recorded across a single year at Action Park. And in terms of fatalities, six guests lost their lives there before it shut down in 1996. The site has since been rebranded as Mountain Creek Water Park, yet its previous guise still generates plenty of crazy stories today.
6. Hawksbill Crag
In Newton County, Arkansas, tourists have the chance to visit one of the world’s most unique-looking cliff edges. The spot in question is known as Hawksbill Crag, and it juts out above a woodland area. Given how precarious it can be, people have tumbled off the rock in the past, including a woman named Andrea Norton in April 2019.
Sadly, Norton succumbed to her injuries after a 100-foot fall. Speaking after the tragedy, the county sheriff then shed some light on previous incidents at Hawksbill Crag. Glenn Wheeler informed KY3, “They’re not always fatal falls. But there are injuries in that area. It’s a beautiful, beautiful area, but it’s also kind of a treacherous area.”
5. Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park first opened its doors back in 1872, spanning more than two million acres. The tourist spot stretches across Idaho, Wyoming and Montana, with just over four million people visiting it in 2019. But due to the hazards in the park, a number of individuals have died down the years.
According to the Outside Online website, 93 people passed away at Yellowstone National Park between 2006 and 2016. To break things down even further, more than 20 of those deaths came as a result of the park’s famous hot springs. After that, another 13 individuals died there by March 2017.
4. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
While active volcanoes are certainly dangerous, a certain Hawaiian tourist spot gives you the chance to take a closer look at these geographical wonders. Indeed, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park safeguards famous peaks like Mauna Loa and Kīlauea. Unsurprisingly, that makes it one of the more perilous locations on this list.
From 1992 up until 2002, some 40 individuals passed away in the park. Meanwhile 45 more suffered serious physical ailments. Then, five years later, three bike riders died over the course of 12 months. As a result of that – plus plenty of additional injuries – a bicycle tour taking place there was halted for a time in 2007.
3. The Golden Gate Bridge
In San Francisco, California, you’d be hard-pressed to miss the Golden Gate Bridge. This iconic landmark has been wowing tourists since it first opened back in 1937, measuring 1.7 miles in length. However, the world’s most famous suspension bridge has a rather notorious statistic attached to it as well.
Up until December 2017 it’s believed that over 1,600 individuals had jumped off the bridge to their deaths. The first of those suicides occurred just three months on from its grand opening. Furthermore, 36 people have also perished in road collisions on the Golden Gate Bridge during that time, highlighting the dangers.
2. The Grand Canyon
When looking at some of the world’s landmarks, there are few that can match up to the Grand Canyon. It’s arguably among the most stunning sights on the planet, attracting tourists from across the globe. The park itself was opened to the public in 1919, but a large number of visitors went on to die there over the following decades.
To explain more, a river guide from Arizona named Michael P. Ghiglieri spoke with the Los Angeles Times in March 2012. He revealed, “Some 683 people have died below the rims (thus ‘in’ the Grand Canyon) during the known history of the Grand Canyon after the early 1860s. Since the canyon became a national park in 1919, the number is 653 people.”
1. Niagara Falls
Situated on the border of Canada and the United States, the Niagara Falls are a must for tourists visiting New York. The incredible landmark consists of three different waterfalls named the American Falls, Horseshoe Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. Alongside that, though, the famous location does have a pretty dark past.
From 1850 up until 2011, roughly 5,000 dead bodies were recovered from Niagara Falls. And if that wasn’t enough, the Niagara Falls Reporter newspaper suggested that 40 people died at the attraction every 12 months back in 2009. These are shocking figures, proving that the landmark might not be as safe as you’d think.