The United States is full of exquisite structures and destinations that appeal to tourists from all over the world. From the Grand Canyon to Niagara Falls, the country offers landscapes that will take your breath away. Since it’s simply impossible to see it all, most people who are traveling will choose to stick to their favorite kind of scenery, whether it be state parks, beaches, museums, or major cities.
Those who are looking for more of an adventurous experience, however, might be more interested in visiting some of the most dangerous tourist attractions in America. While they may be too risky for the average person, they might be right up your alley!
Yellowstone, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho
As one of the most beautiful areas of the country, Yellowstone National Park attracts tourists from all over the world. Well-known for its wild terrain and ample hot springs, the park can also be dangerous for visitors. Taking on Yellowstone is no walk in the park and going there unprepared can prove to be deadly.
There is no one specific area in Yellowstone National Park that causes injuries or death, as it’s multiple things that are the issue. Since the park sits on a supervolcano, boiling geysers and hot springs are commonly found by tourists. Those who ignore the warning signs may end up severely burned or boiled to death. Other injuries occur when visitors slip on the steep hiking trails, fall while mountain climbing, or drown in one of the many water holes.
Great Dunes National Park, Colorado
Known for its picturesque sand dunes and hiking trails, the weather at Great Dunes National Park in Colorado varies greatly depending on the time of the year. When it’s warm, however, the sand can reach temperatures of more than 150 degrees Fahrenheit making it unbearable to walk on. Those who dare risk melting their shoes, severe burns, dehydration, and heatstroke. That’s not the only danger that this park possesses though.
Those who can stand the heat and dare to hike the park’s trails have a few more hazards to look out for. Inexperienced hikers have fallen victim to quicksand and pitfalls along the paths, unfortunately losing their lives. As one of the hottest places in the world, it’s not the ideal tourist destination for everyone.
Half Dome, California
The Half Dome can be found in Yosemite National Park and has some of the most intense hiking trails in the world. If you enjoy hikes that can take over 10 hours each way and require some serious climbing equipment, then this might just be a tourist attraction for you. Trails have cable wires running throughout to lend hikers a hand, but they’re hardly capable of saving lives.
More than 60 people have fallen to their deaths after slipping on the trail, but that hasn’t deterred tourists from giving it a go. The Half Dome welcomes millions of visitors each year, many who choose to tackle its deadly trails. Those who’ve lived to tell the tale say the views are well worth the risk!
Corbet's Couloir, Wyoming
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort attracts some of the best skiers in the world, all who wish to take on Corbet's Couloir. As one of the most dangerous ski slopes in the world, being able to tackle it is certainly a major feat. However, not all who attempt to make it down this slope are experienced enough to get to the bottom safely.
In addition to it being incredibly steep, Corbet’s Couloir is littered with obstacles like trees, boulders, and sharp turns. Over the years it has earned the reputation of America’s scariest ski slope, and rightfully so! While no one has died attempting to get down the slope yet, there have been countless blown-out knees, broken bones, and fractures. It’s so dangerous, in fact, that skiers require permission from the Ski Patrol to attempt it.
Pikes Peak, Colorado
Pikes Peak, Colorado is home to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, also known as The Race To The Clouds. The annual high-speed race attracts professional drivers and motorcyclists who compete to reach the top of the mountain. Considered incredibly dangerous, the race track runs 12.42 miles and has over 150 twists and turns.
Over the years there have been many injuries and several deaths during the race, but that’s not what makes this mountain so dangerous. Those who attempt to hike the steep trail find themselves in the most trouble. Even the most experienced hikers have difficulty making it to the top, and tourists who fail to bring the proper equipment often get hurt or worse.
Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
The Carlsbad Caverns of New Mexico have impressive icicle-shaped mineral deposits that emphasize both the cave’s size and beauty. Hundreds of thousands of visitors stop by each year to tour the caverns or partake in one of their bat flight and star parties. It wasn’t until recently that an invisible threat was putting guests in danger.
With dozens of rooms for tourists to check out, one might assume that the most dangerous thing about the Carlsbad Caverns would be getting lost. However, that’s not the case. The caverns occasionally release poisonous gases, including radon, which has been linked to lung cancer. While these gases form in the depths of the cave, they occasionally reach the caverns, affecting anyone who is in them at the time.
Slick Rock Biking Trail, Utah
The Slick Rock Biking Trail in Utah offers views that have helped it earned worldwide fame. Tourists come from all over the world to bike the trail, even though it has a reputation for being extremely difficult. The one-of-a-kind 10.5-mile trail takes riders on a ride over hardened sand dunes and the eroded remains of ancient sea beds.
Known as one of the most difficult mountain biking trails in the area, it requires both physical and technical skills. Most of the hills are so steep that 98% of visitors end up walking their bikes up them. Without water available along the trail, it becomes dangerous when visitors aren’t prepared. The wide-open space leaves those biking or hiking the trail vulnerable to the sun’s heat, occasionally leading to dehydration, heat-stroke, and exhaustion.
Grand Prismatic Spring, Wyoming
Taking a trip to the hot springs at the Grand Prismatic Spring in Wyoming is entirely safe if warning signs and advice given by Park Rangers are obliged. Unfortunately, not everyone listens which has led to many injuries and over 20 deaths. Social media has only made it worse as the desire to get the perfect picture often causes tourists to neglect common sense.
All of those who have died at the Grand Prismatic Spring, unfortunately, fell into the boiling waters. Injuries occur more often than not when a visitor lets curiosity get the best of them. It’s not uncommon for tourists to test out the water temperatures by sticking their hand in, despite the warning signs not to do so. This results in severe burns that will put a quick end to anyone’s vacation.
Appalachian Trail, Tennessee
The average person takes between five and seven months to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. Certainly, some experience would be required to even attempt such a feat. However, even a day trip to these trails can turn out to be deadly. Experts say that getting lost on the Appalachian Trail would be the least of your problems if you chose to take on this dangerous natural trek.
What makes the area so dangerous are the viruses, parasites, and pathogens that are commonly contracted by visitors. If they get under your skin and into your bloodstream, the damage can be permanent and even deadly.
Gauley River, West Virginia
The heavy promotion of extreme sports in hotels and online leads many tourists to believe these experiences are entirely safe. White water rafting is just one example where people can find themselves in over their heads. The Gauley River in West Virginia has several legendary rapids that attract thrill-seekers from all over, but the Pillow Rock rapid tops them all.
The Class V rapid boasts a 30-foot drop down a narrow chute into the rough waters below, often referred to as “riding the pillow.” Even the most experienced guides have difficulty making it down the Pillow Rock rapid without an issue. While there haven’t been many deaths at the hand of the Gauley River, there have been enough to call the tourist attraction dangerous. The most common cause of death tends to be getting an arm or leg stuck between rocks after falling into the water.
The Big Island, Hawaii
Most people know that Hawaii is made up of a group of eight islands, but few know that the islands are all made up of volcanic rock. This means that visitors and residents can expect occasional volcanic activity. Recently, the Big Island has been experiencing more volcanic activity than usual, scaring off many tourists.
Even though experts have said that volcanic eruptions only affect a small portion of the island, the number of tourists visiting the Big Island has dropped by half. Why take the risk when there are seven other islands that offer similar accommodations and experiences?
As the home of the most popular mouse in the world, Orlando probably attracts more tourists than any other city in the United States. In 2018 alone, it had more than 68 million domestic visitors and almost 6.5 million international visitors. As we all know, Orlando is where Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld are all located, so these numbers are expected. Unfortunately, because the area draws in so many tourists, there’s a higher chance that fatal accidents will occur.
What makes Orlando so dangerous? Simply walking around the streets. Statistics have found that Orlando is the most vulnerable area for pedestrians, with 656 fatalities between 2008 and 2017. It seems that drivers in Florida may need to go back and take some more driver’s ed classes. Of the top 10 deadliest areas for pedestrians in America, eight of them are in Florida.
Sedan Crater, Nevada
There are numerous atomic bomb testing sites around Nevada that attract tourists, one being the Sedan Crater. Located roughly 12 miles southwest of Area 51, the crater was created on July 6, 1962, by an underground thermonuclear explosion. The resulting pit is roughly 1,280 feet wide and 320 feet deep, and is the largest human-made crater in the United States. The mushroom cloud this blast created obscured a radius of five miles and had the highest measured radioactive effects of all nuclear tests performed in the United States.
These days, roughly 10,000 people are taken on tours to the Sedan Crater each year, which is a lot considering tours are only available once or twice a month. The area is so popular among tourists that there’s even a one-year waiting list. While the radioactivity levels surrounding the crater have been deemed safe for visitors, there’s still some debate as to whether or not that’s true. It has been found that radioactive remnants from decades of nuclear bomb tests may remain in underground detonation sites, which would pertain to Sedan Crater. Visitors are welcome, but perhaps at their own risk!
Maroon Bells, Colorado
Maroon Bells consists of two peaks along the Elk Mountains in Colorado. While they may seem ordinary enough, they’re actually made of a fragile substance referred to as mudstone. Tourists who are unaware of this are often taken by surprise when the ground easily crumbles beneath them. As you can imagine, this can be extremely dangerous when hiking on a surface you expect to support your weight.
In addition to crumbling beneath hikers' feet, the mudstone has also led to many injuries after it falls, hitting people on its way down. It wasn’t until 1965 when accidents in the area began to be reported that people were made aware of the dangers of Maroon Bells. That year alone, eight hikers died after losing their footing on the mudstone.
Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Those who visit Antelope Canyon in Arizona are there to capture once in a lifetime views of the stunning canyons in a wide array of colors that can be found nowhere else. What tourists aren’t usually aware of is the number of deaths that have occurred within the canyons. Hikers have been known to slip and fall and get hit by falling rocks, but that’s not what makes this popular attraction so dangerous.
Antelope Canyon has been known to experience flash flooding on occasion, even killing 11 hikers in one day. Since nature is so unpredictable, there’s no telling when flooding can occur, creating a dangerous situation for tourists. For this reason, there are several times of the year when flash flooding is more common and the canyon should be avoided.
Spitting Caves, Hawaii
Popular among both tourists and locals, the Spitting Caves can be found in Honolulu, Hawaii. It’s located just below a high cliff where waves are known to crash, shooting into the cave and creating something that looks like a reverse blowhole. The relatively public trail is relatively short, but hidden in a wealthy residential area. In addition to the phenomenal views, people love to go there and check out where some scenes from the popular show “Lost” were filmed.
Cliff diving is popular at the Spitting Caves, leading to many injuries and some deaths. The strong waves have been known to rough people up, throwing them into the nearby cliffs. It’s not only those who are jumping in the waters willingly who are at risk. The slippery rocks have been known to send a few people into the waters as well, and not all of them have made it out.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, West Virginia
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was a government-run psychiatric hospital that operated from 1864 until 1994. It was ultimately shut down after conditions were deemed unlivable and their treatment methods were found to be outdated. Visitors can spot electroshock and lobotomy instruments in the hospital rooms, which is likely what led to them opening a cemetery on the grounds.
The building’s unique architecture led to the reopening of the facility as a tourist attraction. Over the years, guests and workers have reported hearing voices, strange sounds, and even seeing apparitions. Ghost hunters and fans of the paranormal come from all over the world just to explore the rooms of the hospital, and it has yet to disappoint!
Mount St. Helens, Washington
Mount St. Helens appeals to rock climbers and hikers of all skill levels due to its scenic views and historic notoriety. As an active volcano, however, it is a significantly dangerous tourist attraction. Open all year round, anyone looking to attempt the five-mile trek to the crater’s rim will require a permit. In addition to some of the practical dangers associated with climbing a mountain, taking on Mount St. Helens adds the risk of being in the area during a volcanic eruption.
It was just in 2008 when the last volcanic activity was reported, which isn’t very long ago. Even worse, in 1980 a magnitude 4.2 earthquake caused the volcano to erupt, killing 57 people. Most of the deaths were caused by asphyxiation after inhaling hot ash from simply being in the area. But if you’re feeling lucky, then it’s known to be beautiful in the spring!
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
If you’re looking to go for a swim, you may want to avoid New Smyrna Beach in Florida. Dubbed “shark bite capital of the world,” it’s not exactly the kind of place you want to take the family. While the beach’s shark-infested waters haven’t claimed a life, nearly 250 people have been attacked since the 1800s, when the numbers were first recorded.
Fortunately, sharks don’t seem to prefer human flesh and the unsuspecting tourists who decide to go for a swim only end up losing a limb or needing a few stitches. The number of shark attacks at New Smyrna Beach has declined in recent years, but at least one person is bitten each summer. These statistics don’t seem to frighten tourists away though, as the beach is packed to capacity each year.
Located in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, Centralia is known as a ghost town with a population of just five people. Once a small coal-mining town, an underground fire sent residents running for the hills. The coal mine fire has been burning since 1962 and shows no sign of letting up anytime soon. While most of the abandoned homes are no longer there, the town attracts tourists interested in seeing the fumes rise through the cracks of the crumbling streets as nature slowly reclaims its territory.
What makes the area so dangerous are the unstable grounds. Walking over them can lead to a painful fall into the mining caves below. The fumes coming from the cracks in the ground also pose as a potential threat, as they’re heavily toxic. Being out in the open won’t cause any issues, but walking into areas where the fumes are thick can be deadly!
NASCAR Speedways, U.S.A.
NASCAR attracts fans from all over the country, making their speedways a popular stop for both tourists and locals alike. With over two dozen tracks in the United States and even some in Canada, racing events draw in thousands of spectators each year. Few know, however, that it’s not just the drivers who are risking injury during a race.
Over the years, there have been 47 spectator deaths and far more audience injuries at NASCAR races. Considering the entire sport is based on driving vehicles at unthinkable speeds until ultimately they either crash or cross the finish line, it should come as no surprise. More often than not, this occurred after the safety fences failed and people got hit with debris from an accident. Better than an entire car driving into the stands! However, that happens from time to time as well.
Dalton Highway, Alaska
Dalton Highway is a 414-mile stretch in Alaska that is not only known for its spectacular views but also its winding roads and steep drop-offs. Also known as “Haul Road,” local businesses take advantage of the largely unpaved road to transport heavy loads. As one of the most dangerous highways in the country, most car rental companies don’t allow visitors to drive on it in their vehicles, as they know there’s a slim chance they’ll get their vehicle back in one piece.
In addition to sharp turns, what makes the highway so dangerous is how isolated it is. If there was an accident, it could be days before someone came across it. They have helicopters scoping out the area once a day for just this reason, but Alaska’s harsh weather conditions can make this difficult. From temperatures that drop to -80 degrees, powerful wind tunnels, roaming wild animals, and frequent whiteouts, it’s certainly not the kind of highway you want to get stuck on.
The gorgeous island of Kauai, Hawaii offers picturesque views of tropical rainforests and dramatic cliffs. It’s these reasons that tourists come from all over the world to spend time on the island, but not all of them get to leave. The waters off the coasts of Kauai are known for its strong currents and dangerous riptides, leading to many deaths over the years.
While tourists are strongly advised to stay out of the water, they don’t always listen or understand the warning signs. Large waves can easily sweep someone out to sea or even send them hurling towards nearby rocks. The ocean’s unpredictable ways have led to many injuries and deaths, discouraging even local swimmers from taking the risk.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is a popular park in San Francisco, boasting views of the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists, as on top of offering spectacular views, it’s a great location for swimming, sunbathing, fishing and more. What makes the area so dangerous are the tumultuous currents and strong rip tides.
Visitors don’t expect the waters to be so rough, leading to an average of 85 deaths per year. Standing on nearby rocks doesn’t keep tourists safe either, as the waves are known to be large enough to sweep bystanders out to sea. In only takes a moment for things to turn deadly at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area park!
The Maze, Utah
They don’t call this popular tourist spot 'The Maze' for no reason. As the least accessible district of Canyonlands, it should come as no surprise that it’s more than forty miles away from civilization and takes at least a few days to complete. Visitors require all of the right hiking equipment and enough experience before they can even get near the area.
What makes this trail so dangerous is its remote location, rough terrain, and maze-like surroundings. Even the most seasoned hikers have trouble getting through 'The Maze' without getting lost. You won’t be able to use your GPS to find your way out of this one!
Times Square, New York
Crime in New York City has certainly decreased since the ‘80s, however, that doesn’t mean it’s a safe haven. Tourists especially are at risk when visiting the Big Apple, and no trip to New York is complete without a walk through Times Square. Unfortunately, predators know this and see this area of the city as easy pickings.
Tourists are most likely to be targeted by pickpockets and thieves, as they tend to walk around with a lot of cash and don’t know to keep their phones and electronics hidden. In 2019, crime rates spiked in New York City, as more murders, robberies, and assaults were reported. As long as you keep your eyes open and don’t parade your money around, visiting Times Square doesn’t have to be dangerous!
Hanakapiai Beach, Hawaii
Located on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, you can’t take a car to Hanakapi’ai Beach. Those who wish to go there must first take on the Kalalau trail, which is known for being dangerous all on its own. The beach can be found approximately two miles into the hike and offers little relaxation for those who make the journey.
The waters are known for being deadly, as the strong current and large waves make them impossible to maneuver. A sign cautioning tourists to stay out of the waters indicates that over 80 people have lost their lives taking a dip in these waters, yet people continue to take the risk time and time again. Of those who have drowned at Hanakapi’ai Beach, 15 were never recovered.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
The Grand Canyon may be a popular tourist destination for sightseers and families, yet few know just how dangerous it can be. Every so often we hear about someone getting too close to the edge while taking a selfie, ultimately falling to their death. On average, this happens 12 times per year, but is not why the canyon is on this list.
The breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon attract people from all over the world, many who aren’t familiar with the humidity found in Arizona. It’s not uncommon for visitors to experience heatstroke and dehydration, which can be deadly if not treated quickly.
Red Rock Canyon, Nevada
Red Rock Canyon in Nevada is best known for its picturesque views and large stones projecting a red hue. Its beauty attracts many tourists from all over the world, few who are experienced enough to handle hiking its rough terrain. Between Nevada’s sweltering heat and unstable boulders, the canyon can be difficult for anyone to take on.
Injuries reported in the area have gone up significantly as cliff diving has become more popular in recent years. Although illegal, adrenaline junkies are jumping from the cliffs into ponds below, neglecting to think of what lies beneath the water’s surface. Each year, one or two hikers go missing in the canyon and are later found dead.
Tuckerman Ravine, New Hampshire
Tuckerman Ravine is known as being a popular location for extreme skiing, as its steep slopes make it appealing to adrenaline junkies. Found in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, those who dare to take on the ravine must first hike several miles before they even can even begin. This, however, isn’t what makes this destination so dangerous.
Weather conditions in the area are known to change quickly and unexpectedly. Sudden nasty winds and snow make skiing far more difficult and cause deadly avalanches. With slopes at angles between 35 and 50 degrees, an unexpected storm often leaves skiers stranded and trapped in the ravine.
Utah Valley, Utah
Located east of Brigham Young University in Utah, Y Mountain is best known for carrying the enormous white “Y” of the school’s initials. Located in the Utah Valley, the Y Trail allows locals and visitors to climb up to the sign and take photos. It’s one of the most hiked trails in the area and offers views of the valley as well as a unique photo opportunity. While this hike is relatively easy, it only takes visitors approximately halfway up the mountain. As most people know, the best views are always from the top.
Off the top right corner of the Y, is a narrow hiking path that leads to the top of the mountain where it’s known for its epic views of Rock Canyon and Utah Valley. However, there are a number of dangerous obstacles that make this area so dangerous. While the initial hike to the Y is suitable for beginners, those who choose to climb to the top should be more experienced. The trail is steep and surrounded by deadly cliffs, causing many to get stuck or injured each year. If that doesn’t deter you, the countless sightings of Mountain lions and cougars on the trail just might!
New Orleans, Louisiana
Those who are looking for some mischief during their travels often end up in New Orleans, Louisiana. Famous for hosting the infamous Mardi Gras festival and its southern dishes, The Big Easy was also a victim of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The city’s proximity to the sea often makes it a target during hurricane season, but that’s not why it’s considered dangerous.
Many residents lost their homes, cars, and businesses, forcing them to go into survival mode during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Even to this day, locals are struggling just to get by. This has forced many to scam and steal from tourists, so much so that New Orleans has the highest crime rate in the country.
Devil's Hole, New York
Located north of Niagara Falls, the Devil’s Hole is named after the park’s history rather than the danger it poses. As the site of the 1763 battle between the British and the Seneca Native Americans, the area holds a dark past. It’s said that the British soldiers were slaughtered by the Native Americans, and there were no survivors.
The deadly battle was over an essential portage used by Native Americans to move their canoes around the falls and rapids on the Niagara River. It’s a popular tourist destination as in addition to its history, the park hosts views of Niagara Falls which make it appealing. However, if you don’t believe in ghosts, then Devil’s Hole in New York presents very little danger for visitors.
The Perrine Bridge, Idaho
Base jumping is illegal in almost every state, but the Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls, Idaho is one of the few places in the country that allows people to do this without a permit. Hundreds of people from all over jump off the bridge each year, some with more experience than others. As thrilling as base jumping may sound, it’s illegal in most of the country for a reason.
Injuries are a common occurrence while base jumping off the Perrine Bridge, but that doesn’t deter thrill-seeking tourists. Even the numerous deaths that have happened on that bridge and the hundreds that happen when people go base jumping illegally doesn’t stop people from giving it a try.
Bright Angel Trail, Arizona
The Bright Angel Trail in Arizona descends 4,380 feet from Grand Canyon Village to the Colorado River, boasting sights of the canyon and the park. It is also a common route to some campsites along the river, but it’s far from an easy trek. In addition to hikers, the narrow, steep trail is also commonly used by mules transporting gear to nearby campgrounds. The mules must be given the right of way, which can be a tight squeeze on this notoriously narrow trail. However, this isn’t what makes it dangerous.
Since the hike is less than a mile, people underestimate its hazards. Sudden rainfall and flash floods are common in the area and could lead to hikers getting stuck at the bottom of the trail. Falling debris and rocks or loose dirt often cause visitors to slip or fall, leading to some of the more serious injuries. The biggest danger, however, is failing to properly prepare for Arizona’s dry and humid air. Dehydration and heat exhaustion are common troubles visitors experience on this trail.
Mount Washington, New Hampshire
At 6,288.2 feet, Mount Washington in New Hampshire is the highest mountain peak in the Northeastern United States. Also referred to as Agiocochook by some Native American tribes, parts of the mountain experience winds that reach speeds up to 231 miles per hour. Having some of the fastest wind speeds in the world that rival major hurricanes, it should come as no surprise that Mount Washington made this list.
Regardless of the time of year, temperatures on the mountain remain low and put visitors at risk of frostbite and hypothermia. There are parts of the mountain that are considered less dangerous, but tourists should never attempt to hike the mountain on their own. Snowstorms are common and come on suddenly, so only those with the proper equipment and attire can safely wander around Mount Washington.
China Walls, Hawaii
The China Walls are known for two things. It’s the ideal location to watch the sunset in Hawaii Kai, and a popular spot for cliff jumping. At any time of the day, you’ll find a younger crowd hanging out there with lounge chairs, a cooler, and maybe some snorkel gear. However, just like many places along the Hawaiian coasts, jumping into the water off the China Walls is incredibly risky.
The rough waters make getting in and out quite difficult. Even the most skilled swimmers have trouble. Since the area is surrounded by cliffs, it only takes one big wave for a dip in the ocean to become deadly. Even those who don’t jump in the water willingly are at risk, as the cliffs are known for being slippery. If you’re not the best swimmer, it’s best to stay clear of the wall’s edge.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada and Arizona
Just 24 miles from Las Vegas, the views and beaches at Lake Mead National Recreation Area appeal to many tourists. Its beauty is deceiving though, as it’s known as the deadliest lake in the country. The lake attracts guests who like to swim, go boating, and cliff dive, however, not all of those who make the trip live to talk about it.
The Lake Mead National Recreation Area has endured hundreds of drownings over the years. Between 2006 and 2016 alone, there were 275 deaths at the lake, most of which could have been prevented with a lifejacket. It’s thought that the death toll is higher at this lake as people underestimate the strength of the current as well as the distance between coves.
Alcatraz, San Francisco
Considered one of the most haunted places in the world, Alcatraz prison isn't for faint-hearted tourists. Located on an island in the Bay of San Francisco, it’s known for housing some of the most notorious criminals, including Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and Arthur “Doc” Barker. Additionally, it’s the sight of some gruesome mistreatment, as prisoners were punished by being sent to what they called the “strip cell.”
The “strip cell” was a dark, steel room with just a hole which prisoners would use as a toilet, and is said to be the cause of so many lingering spirits. Visitors have reported seeing glowing eyes, hearing crying, cold spots, and much more. If you don’t believe in ghosts, then this well-known tourist attraction isn’t dangerous at all!
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is home to hundreds of wildlife varieties. Everything from elks and moose to black bears and cougars lives within the 265,461 acres of land. That’s not what makes the park so dangerous though. Rockslides are a common yet unexpected occurrence which has led to many injuries and some deaths over the years. But that’s not all.
Lighting strikes are unusually common in the park and are often deadly. As they are both unexpected and unavoidable, there’s little that can be done about this. Inexperienced hikers who wander around Rocky Mountain National Park without the proper equipment are far more likely to fall victim to these natural circumstances.
Lost Lake, Alaska
Sitting between two massive glaciers, the Lost Lake in Alaska has become a popular tourist spot in the spring and summer. The warm weather attracts people from all over who are there to check out the area’s natural beauty, including the overgrown wildflowers, reflective pools, and active water life. However, in recent years, the area has been attracting more and more fearless snowmobile riders who enjoy taking on the steep and icy terrain.
While fun, even the most experienced thrill-seekers have found themselves in trouble. Unpredictable weather conditions can lead to harsh winds and whiteouts, making it nearly impossible to see. Getting lost in the area will likely mean being stuck out in the cold for days, if you ever get found at all. Only highly experienced and prepared explorers should even attempt to visit Lost Lake during the colder months.
Everglades National Park, Florida
Tourists love to go to the Everglades National Park in Florida in hopes of getting a glimpse at some of the area's rare and endangered animals. These include Florida panthers, leatherback turtles, and West Indian manatees, all of which rarely make an appearance for guests. Visitors are far more likely to encounter the reptiles who thrive in the swampy lands.
A trip to the Everglades practically guarantees a run-in with a crocodile or an alligator. With the ability to run at speeds up to 20 miles per hour and jaws designed to tear flesh apart, they make the area very dangerous for guests. For this reason, the park recommends that people stay at least 15 feet away from any of the animals they come across, but even that won’t do much to save guests from a hungry croc.
Death Valley, California
As one of the hottest locations in the world, it’s no coincidence that Death Valley is named after kicking the bucket. The desert reaches temperatures so high that heatstroke and dehydration are a common occurrence. In fact, even driving by the area is known to lead to death. People often pass out behind the wheel, causing a surprising number of deadly car accidents.
In addition to the heat, tourists have to be able to navigate the area’s rocky terrain and watch out for a number of venomous animals. A highly experienced tour guide is not just recommended, it’s necessary for anyone considering a trip to Death Valley.
Utqiagvik is a town in Northern Alaska formerly known as Barrow. Home to the Iñupiat indigenous group for more than 1,500 years, the area is only accessible by plane or boat. Residents find themselves in the dark from November to January, but that’s not what makes this remote town so dangerous to tourists.
Those who visit Barrow are strongly encouraged not to wander too far from the town. With temperatures below freezing all year round, being caught outdoors without a hat or gloves will guarantee a trip to the emergency room. Frostbite is the biggest threat for tourists who dare to venture to this remote village.
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Few tourists know that Mount Rainier in Washington is actually an active volcano. While it has been over 1,000 years since it last erupted, the park still has a deadly history. The area is cold all year round. Combining that with its narrow hiking trails and frequent avalanches, taking on this mountain just might be the last thing you do.
The most dangerous part of the mountain is Liberty Ridge, where 25 percent of the park’s fatalities occur. Even the most experienced of hikers have found themselves in trouble on this trail. Fortunately, the Mount Rainier National Park makes sure visitors know how dangerous Liberty Ridge is, and now only two percent of hikers choose to take that route.
The Berkeley Pit, Montana
Started in 1955, the Berkeley Pit was an active copper mine until 1982. Located in Butte, Montana, the area was considered an essential part of the mining boom in the 19th century and even went on to earn itself the nickname of the “richest hill on Earth.” After the pit was shut down, the miners took their water pumps with them, ultimately leaving the pit to fill up with groundwater.
This isn’t your typical groundwater though. Due to the pollution caused by years of mining the area, as well as natural minerals in the ground, the water that ended up filling the pit is extremely toxic. Full of nasty chemicals and heavy metals, the water often appears discolored. The color tends to change from black, to red, and sometimes even an unnatural blue. Visitors can check out the Berkeley Pit from a viewing platform and even take a tour of the mines. It’s fairly safe as long as you don’t drink the water!
While Huntsville, Alabama may seem like just another city in the United States, tourists might be risking their lives by visiting. Every few years, an unexpected natural phenomenon takes over the city, putting everyone at the center of destruction. Tornadoes have been ripping through Huntsville for decades, and never fail to appear during a storm.
The area has been ripped apart by more than a dozen tornadoes since the ‘70s and they don’t appear to be letting up anytime soon. What makes these tornadoes especially dangerous is how quickly they appear, destroying everything and everyone in its path.
Jacob's Well, Texas
Jacob’s Well is a mile-deep natural pool in Texas. Many who visit the waterhole stick to its edges or take a dip to cool off. The views are majestic and the area is usually safe for these visitors. However, the spot has become popular among divers who like to explore the depths of the pool, many who are inexperienced.
Several divers have lost their lives exploring the mysterious waters of Jacob’s Well, likely by losing their way in the dark caverns far below the surface. It was decided for this reason that only registered scuba divers would be allowed to dive in the pool. This didn’t put an end to the injuries and deaths though. Even the most experienced of divers have been known to make mistakes.
Denali National Park, Alaska
Encompassing over 6 million acres, the Denali National Park in Alaska is home to dozens of wild creatures. It’s not uncommon for hikers and tourists to fall victim to one of these animals. Grizzly bears especially have been known to injure and kill visitors who are unaware of the park’s dangerous wildlife.
It’s not just grizzly bears that tourists have to look out for though. The area’s heavy rainfalls cause mudslides that have led to serious injuries and left tourists stranded. Not too long ago 300 visitors were stuck inside the park after a mudslide left them trapped. It’s certainly not the kind of park you want to wander around alone.
The Red Triangle, California
The Red Triangle is an area in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Northern California known for being home to many great white sharks. For this reason, the area is responsible for more shark attacks than anywhere else in the country. In fact, roughly 38 percent of great white shark attacks in the United States occurred in the Red Triangle, and 11 percent of shark attacks worldwide.
While most would think this would deter visitors from hanging out on the beaches off the coasts surrounding the Red Triangle, it most certainly does not. Both tourists and locals enjoy vacationing in the area, often attracting sharks closer to the shores where they mistake swimmers for fish or seals. That doesn’t discourage people from entering the waters though!