Beautiful, yet potentially deadly: there is perhaps a no better way to describe Arizona in such a brief manner, especially when it comes to its harsh-at-times 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 dangers worthy of understanding (and respecting). These
dangerous places in Arizona are as beautiful as they may be risky, but they keep us coming back anyway.
Today, we will look at some places in the Copper 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 conditions, and making sure to bring extra water. Oh, and use your common sense (which honestly should usually be called
uncommon sense, people are wild):
1. Parts of the Arizona - Mexico International border
The majority of the 389-mile-long border between Arizona and Mexico is composed of under-inhabited desert land and is filled with natural predators, though it remains quiet more often than not. However, another danger to keep in mind is the possible presence of smuggling activity in the area which, area residents claim, has increased over the last ten years or so. 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. It's worth nothing, though: none of the Arizona border towns are currently on the list of the
most dangerous towns in Arizona
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 via water erosion over millions of years, 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 11 tourists died during a flash flood in August thanks to a productive monsoon season. While additional safety features have been installed to try and prevent this from reoccurring, it is still a good idea to heed caution before and while visiting. ALWAYS check the weather forecast, especially between the months of June and October.
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 adventurers commonly experience while attempting the 2.5-mile hike. However, not a single 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 this mountain. 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. We recommend the stunning
Heart of Rocks Loop Trail
, which is as beautiful as it is challenging.
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 (which is the single
most dangerous hike in Arizona
) in a short time period. A 12-mile round trip that descends into the canyon, the trail is steep, has little shade, and is highly recommended to be done as an overnight trip. But still: some folks just don't listen, ever, until they need to learn the hard way.
Other potential threats while visiting the Grand Canyon are plenty. For instance, it's entirely possible to fall off the edge and into the void below. 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... or a trip to the morgue.
5. Old mine pits. All of them. Seriously.
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. If you're THAT curious and REALLY need to know what mining is all about, you might want to visit the ASARCO Copper Mine, which is the only remaining
open-pit mine in Arizona offering tours
6. The 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 within the region of 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. The Sonoran Desert remains, however, one of the
most beautiful places in Arizona
, so thankfully it's a place you can easily go with enough preparation.
7. The Superstition Mountains
Hauntings and dangerous 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 to hike the area only to require rescuing. Some people die or even simply vanish, leaving only 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. Oh, and by the way ... these mountains are thought to be one of the
most haunted places in Arizona
, so interpret that as you may.
8. Washes and dry rivers. All of 'em.
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 distant storms. They happen remarkably fast and tend to be furious, so please - use caution during monsoon season especially.
What other places are there in Arizona where people should take extra precautions? Have you ever been to any of these dangerous places in Arizona? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section, and don’t forget to share photos – we love those!
If you can’t get enough of Arizona’s amazing natural beauty, you might want to check out seven of the most
iconic natural wonders in AZ! If you prefer a good scenic drive, be sure to check out this awesome natural wonders road trip in AZ ASAP.
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More to Explore
Dangerous Places in Arizona
What are some notoriously dangerous places in Arizona?
Arizona, like anywhere else, has its dangerous places and towns. Some of the most notoriously dangerous places in Arizona include:
2. Why are the Superstition Mountains so dangerous?
The Superstition Mountains in and of themselves are not technically dangerous; it’s all the things one might encounter while exploring them that bring the potential issues. Some of the most dangerous aspects of the Superstition Mountains are:
Very high heat in the summer (heat accounts for numerous deaths every year)
Falls from incredibly high cliffs and ledges
Drowning in flash floods
Becoming stuck on the mountain and requiring rescue (happens every year)
3. What are some inherent dangers of living in Arizona?
Just like anywhere else, there are several inherent dangers of living in Arizona, though it really is a beautiful place to call home. Just watch out for:
Potentially aggressive wildlife such as mountain lions, coyotes, bears, and elk
Red light runners (Phoenix has some of the highest red light running rates in the country)