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The 10 Safest U.S. National Parks (And the 10 Most Dangerous)

Do you want the good news first or the bad news? A new study lists the 10 safest national parks in the United States and the 10 most dangerous. Can you guess which park tops either list?

First the good news. The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, which feels more like a landmark, tops the list of safest national parks in the U.S. Now, the bad news. The nation’s most dangerous national park by this study’s metrics is North Cascades National Park in Washington.

Without further ado, here are the rankings (see below for more information about the study’s methodology):

The 10 Safest U.S. National Parks

  1. Gateway Arch National Park
  2. Indiana Dunes National Park
  3. Mammoth Cave National Park
  4. Petrified Forest National Park
  5. Cuyahoga Valley National Park
  6. Channel Islands National Park
  7. Haleakalā National Park
  8. New River Gorge National Park
  9. Congaree National Park
  10. Virgin Islands National Park

 The 10 Most Dangerous U.S. National Parks

  1. North Cascades National Park
  2. Lake Clark National Park
  3. Denali National Park
  4. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
  5. Isle Royale National Park
  6. Gates of the Arctic National Park
  7. Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
  8. Grand Teton National Park
  9. Yellowstone National Park
  10. Glacier Bay National Park

Notes on Methodology

To determine these rankings, the company took into consideration factors like fatalities per million visitors, most common cause of fatalities, dangerous animals present in the park (and abundance of the animal within the park), highest and lowest average temperatures, record high and record low temperatures, average number of search-and-rescue (SAR) incidents per year, SAR incidents per million visitors, vertical relief in elevation, whether the park has cell service, and whether the park has Wi-Fi.

Each park received a score per safety factor, and then the company totaled the scores. The highest scores landed parks on the most dangerous list. The lowest scores landed parks on the safest list.

See the full results here.

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