Beautiful, yet potentially deadly: There is perhaps no better way to describe Arizona in such a brief way, especially when it comes to our natural environment. While these places may make the perfect setting for photo shoots or an ideal meditation location, they also have their own set of danger.
Today, we will look at some places in our state that have repeatedly resulted in injury or death. Just remember: before visiting any remote location, always do your research by investigating the area’s history, checking the weather and making sure to bring extra water. Oh, and use your common sense!
1. Arizona-Mexico border
The majority of the 389 mile-long border between Arizona and Mexico is composed of underinhabited desert land and is filled with natural predators. However, another danger to keep in mind is the presence of smuggling activity in the area which, according to area residents, has increased over the years. For now, we'll have to see if politicians can agree that building a fence or altering laws and policies will help stem the violence in the area.
2. Antelope Canyon
We have a few popular slot canyons in Arizona and they make excellent areas for hiking and landscape photography. However, since these canyons are typically formed through water erosion, the major safety concern when entering these places is a flash flood occurring. One of the worst such events to happen here was in 1997 when eleven tourists died during a flash flood in August of that year. While additional safety features have been installed, it is still a good idea to heed caution before and while visiting.
3. Camelback Mountain
The hike up Camelback Mountain via Echo Canyon Trail can look deceptively easy despite all the warnings from other hikers and news reports about various injuries, illnesses, and deaths that hikers commonly experience while attempting the 2.5-mile hike. However, not a summer goes by without hearing at least a few news reports of hikers requiring emergency rescue or learning of someone falling to their death while hiking. If you want to hike this location, make sure to already have some hiking experience under your belt, attempt it during the cooler months, and pack more water and snacks than you think you will need.
4. The Grand Canyon
The National Park Service notes that every year, more than 250 people have to be rescued from the Grand Canyon. A large number of these rescues are a result of folks ignoring warnings and attempting to hike the entire Bright Angel Trail in a short time period. A 12-mile round trip that descends into the canyon, the trail is steep, has little shading, and is highly recommended to be done as an overnight trip.
Other potential threats while visiting? Well, its entirely possible to fall off the edge. Because the canyon is so large, plenty of areas do not have railings to prevent falls. Take precautions when visiting any canyon in Arizona as even the smaller ones can quickly turn a fun day trip into a hospital stay.
5. Old mine pits
Arizona's major economic and settlement booms came from mining silver, gold, copper, and uranium. While some were properly closed and cleaned, a surprising number have not. This is especially true for uranium mines in northern Arizona where companies failed to do their part in closing pits to prevent people, livestock, and wildlife from encountering these mines and their waste waters, even decades after closure. If you plan on hiking or camping out in the wilderness, be careful and be extra vigilant for any signs of nearby mines.
6. Sonoran Desert
While hiking in any of Arizona's vast deserts, the Sonoran Desert earns a spot on this list due to the sheer number of visitors it receives each year. Let's just say this: if you're going to be spending any amount of time in the desert—even while walking around a city in the desert—always carry extra water, limit your time in the sun, and take frequent breaks. You don't want to become a statistic on the evening news.
7. Superstition Mountains
Hauntings and hidden mines aside, the Superstition Mountains are a tempting yet dangerous location for hikers everywhere. Perhaps it's the rugged land, the hiking difficulty, or the legend of the Lost Dutchman's gold mine but people every year attempt hiking the area only to require rescuing. Some people die or even simply vanish, leaving on a tiny bit of evidence they were even in the area. If you plan to explore the area, take it easy and always let others know your location and routes you will take.
8. Washes and dry rivers
For most people, a wash or a dry river bed seems completely harmless; not a trace of water is around for most of the year and this causes plenty of people to assume little risk will happen when walking, hiking, or camping along or in one of these places. Flash floods occur quickly and one of the best ways to determine safety is to check the weather for rain reports. However, don't let sunny weather in the immediate area be your only indicator for flash floods. They can also occur from distance storms.
What other places are there in Arizona where people should take extra precautions? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!