• Nationwide park disappearances usually have mysterious, spooky tales with sudden twists and turns for households and search groups.
  • The dedication of extremely skilled search and rescue groups is essential to profitable missions, however not all finish with glad endings.
  • Whereas there are many mysterious disappearances in nationwide parks, there are additionally quite a lot of unbelievable discovered lacking individuals in nationwide parks as effectively, though, sadly, not all of them have been discovered alive.



Nationwide Parks are a number of the most scenic pure landscapes within the US. Dramatic canyon views, raging rivers and waterfalls, and dense forests present an escape from the conventional cityscape. These pure wonders have a darkish aspect, nonetheless. There are dozens of unsolved mysteries in US nationwide parks, including an ominous undertone to America’s most well-known points of interest.

Not everybody who disappears in a nationwide park turns into the topic of an unsolved mysteries podcast, nonetheless. In reality, a overwhelming majority of the search and rescue missions are profitable, due to the dedication of extremely skilled search and rescue groups and caring volunteers.

Even when the search and rescue does not have a cheerful ending, discovering solutions a few lacking individual may be instrumental in offering closure for relations searching for solutions. The glad, the unhappy, and the simply plain spooky, listed below are a number of the wildest tales of discovered lacking individuals in US nationwide parks.


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7 Katherine Van Alst

Ozark-St. Francis Nationwide Forest, Arkansas

Most of the greatest nationwide park disappearances begin the identical manner. A household or group visits a nationwide park, one member wanders, and no hint of them is ever discovered. It is an unsettling sample that has led to lots of the monster tales that encompass the nationwide parks. It is also precisely what the poor Van Alst household skilled on a summer time day in Ozark-St. Francis Nationwide Forest in 1946.

Eight-year-old Katherine Van Alst was enjoying together with her siblings within the woods close to her campsite. The brothers appeared away for a second, and abruptly she was gone. Whereas many nationwide park mysteries finish there, Katherine’s story one way or the other will get stranger. An enormous search was launched, combing each mile of forest.

Six days after her disappearance, volunteers wandered by a cave thirty miles from the place Katherine went lacking. Out crawled little Katherine, who casually waved and mentioned, “Here I am!”

Katherine had little reminiscence of the final six days, mentioning she ate berries and drank water from the cave. She made odd remarks about sleeping in heat grass and “finding herself in the cave,” and all the time appeared disconcertingly calm about her ordeal.

Search and rescue groups had been equally confused. That they had searched the precise space with tools and canines, twice. Why had Katherine not been discovered on both of the earlier sweeps? As unusual because the circumstances are, the Van Alst household obtained a uncommon glad ending to their nationwide park lacking individual case.

Katherine Van Alst




1946 (6 days later)

The place Discovered

30 miles from the campsite in a cave

6 Donald P. Smith

Lake Mead Nationwide Recreation Space, Nevada

Lake Mead Nationwide Recreation Space is taken into account essentially the most harmful nationwide park within the US, with a physique depend to rival lots of the most notorious serial killers. Sadly, lots of its victims are by no means discovered, condemned to a watery grave too deep to achieve.

The receding water ranges have compelled Lake Mead to disclose a few of its secrets and techniques, like what occurred to Donald P. Smith in 1974. Donald P. Smith, like hundreds of thousands of others, visited Lake Mead to get a refreshing break from the summer time warmth. In a tragic flip of occasions, he disappeared underneath the water, by no means to resurface. He was reported lacking, and an intensive search adopted.

Sadly, no hint of Smith was discovered, till 50 years later, when low water ranges revealed skeletal stays in October 2023. DNA evaluation confirmed the stays belonged to 39-year-old Smith, confirming the tragic ending to this 50-year-old thriller.

The oldest confirmed physique present in Lake Mead, the invention of Donald P. Smith stands as probably the most dramatic discovered individual tales in any nationwide park.

Donald P. Smith





The place Discovered

Receding waters of Lake Mead


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5 Randy Morgenson

Sequoia-Kings Canyon Nationwide Park, California

James Randall “Randy” Morgenson had already been a park ranger in California for 27 years when he was reported lacking on July 21, 1996. Having grown up in Yosemite Nationwide Park, the kid of two park rangers, Morgenson was the final individual anybody anticipated to go lacking on a routine patrol. His colleagues, skilled park rangers themselves, organized an intensive search of the park, utilizing their information of the terrain and their buddy to forged a good web over this nook of the Sierra Nevadas.

Regardless of the wealth of expertise, Morgenson by no means turned up, leaving many to surprise what occurred to the seasoned outdoorsman. Tragically, his stays had been discovered 5 years later in 2001 on the backside of a waterfall, swept underneath a rock by the raging stream. Proof advised he broke his leg and was swept away by the excessive waters.

Discovering Randy, nonetheless, did not precisely shut this lacking individuals case. One of many rangers on the search expressed confusion on the location of Morgenson’s physique, noting that he had searched that actual space totally again in 1996. On the high of the waterfall, Morgenson’s radio sat peacefully on a rock, absolutely functioning and within the ‘on’ place. Was Randy listening to the search and rescue efforts? If that’s the case, why did not he alert them to his location?

Theories that Randy Morgenson had no need to be discovered have arisen all year long, fueled by him leaving his uniform in his locker and making feedback about “not bothering” individuals anymore. If that’s the case, Morgenson might have been actively avoiding the search events when he met his unlucky finish.

Randy Morgenson





The place Discovered

Backside of a waterfall in Sequoia-Kings Canyon Nationwide Park


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4 Rudi Moder

Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park, Colorado

Initially from West Germany, Rudi Moder had finished loads of analysis earlier than embarking on his snowboarding and mountaineering journey by means of Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park. Used to harsh winter situations, nobody was involved about Moder embarking on this solo expedition, till he did not come again at his scheduled time.

Reported lacking on February 20, 1983, a large four-day search started for the lacking hiker. Over a foot of contemporary snow had fallen throughout Moder’s in a single day outing, making it tough to seek out clues which may have pointed to his whereabouts. A snow cave was discovered, filled with Moder’s gear, together with a sleeping bag and meals cache, however no hint of Moder himself appeared.

In August 2020, Moder’s household lastly obtained closure when skeletal stays had been present in Skeleton Gulch. The bones provided no clues as to what led to Moder’s dying, however did enable the Nationwide Park Service to shut out an almost 40-year-old chilly case. Rudi Moder’s dying serves as a reminder that typically expertise isn’t any match for the weather of US nationwide parks.

Rudy Moder


February 20, 1983


August 2020

The place Discovered

Skeleton Gulch


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3 Christy Perry

Large Bend Nationwide Park, Texas

Christy Perry was out for a hike on Misplaced Mine Path when a terrifyingly thick fog rolled in unexpectedly, utterly blinding her. Misplaced and alone within the distant Texas park, Christy Perry appeared poised to turn into yet one more lacking individual case.

Perry was reported lacking when her household realized they hadn’t heard from her and that she by no means confirmed up for her campsite reservation. They alerted authorities and even known as in a number of the state’s greatest trackers to affix in on the hunt. Excessive winds and continued storm situations impeded the search. Because the search and rescue mission handed the one-week mark, even the search crew was getting ready for this mission to turn into a restoration.

In a dramatic twist of occasions, nonetheless, Christy Perry survived her time within the desert and was rescued eight harrowing days after she initially went lacking. There are a selection of methods to keep away from turning into one of many greatest lacking individual tales in US nationwide parks, and it appears Perry had taken them to coronary heart. As soon as she realized she was misplaced, Perry stopped and stayed the place she was, preserving her near the search space.

The storm that had brought on her ordeal ended up offering the water she wanted to remain hydrated, and Perry correctly opted to remain by the water supply as a substitute of strolling additional into the desert. By preserving her wits about her, Perry was capable of keep away from an all-too-common tragedy, and as a substitute stands as probably the most dramatic rescue tales in a US nationwide park.

Christy Perry


November 2023


November 2023 (8 days later)

The place Discovered

Canyon in Large Bend Nationwide Park


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2 Eric Robinson

Uinta-Wasatch-Cache Nationwide Forest, Utah

Utah is stuffed with dramatic mountain climbing trails, and whereas there are a number of harmful hikes in Zion Nationwide Park (moreover simply the notorious Angel’s Touchdown) and different Southern Utah points of interest, it was the mountains of Northern Utah that obtained the higher of skilled Australian hiker Eric Robinson.

Robinson set out on a 60-mile trek by means of the Excessive Uinta Wilderness within the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache Nationwide Forest. He took all the precise precautions, leaving an in depth itinerary and packing all of the gear he might presumably want.

Robinson set out into the wilderness on July 28 and was scheduled to complete his hike by August 7. A scout troop handed him on August 2 within the Yellowstone drainage space. The troop famous that Robinson appeared considerably disoriented, however he nonetheless appeared proper on observe to finish his hike.

This encounter turned out to be the final time anybody noticed Eric Robinson alive. Robinson by no means appeared on the finish of his hike, and no hint of him appeared, regardless of in depth search and rescue efforts, flyer postings, and even aerial canvassing.

5 years later, in Allsop Move, the reply to what occurred to Eric Robinson was lastly discovered. Not a part of his unique itinerary, it appeared Robinson had modified course, deliberately or unintentionally, and ended up on this in style, however unforgiving ridge space. Sadly, he by no means made it out of the wilderness, becoming a member of the various who met their finish in one of many US nationwide parks.

Eric Robinson


July/August 2011


August 2016

The place Discovered

Allsop Move, Excessive Uinta Wilderness


12 Strangest Issues Ever Found At The Grand Canyon

Go on an thrilling expedition with this listing of the strangest issues to ever be found within the Grand Canyon.

1 Scott Walsh

Grand Canyon Nationwide Park, Arizona

With excessive warmth and minimal shelter, it is no shock that Grand Canyon Nationwide Park is among the most harmful nationwide parks within the US. Numerous search and rescue missions are deployed into the canyon every year, with a wide range of outcomes. As the most important canyon within the US, discovering a single human being may be extraordinarily difficult, typically taking years.

Scott Walsh was one such story. A Brooklyn native, Scott Walsh had been reported lacking in 2015, however had not been reported as lacking within the park on the time. Whereas he had been seen on the South Rim, the household wasn’t even certain he was nonetheless within the state when he went lacking, so Walsh was by no means the topic of a search and rescue operation.

As an alternative, it was the seek for one other lacking Grand Canyon vacationer in 2021, Gabor Berczi-Tomscanyi, that led to Scott Walsh lastly being discovered. Berczi-Tomscanyi had fallen from the rim, and as crews looked for his physique, they made an sudden discovery. Tucked within the rocks with a backpack filled with labeled treatment was Scott Walsh’s physique, patiently ready to be found.

Whereas the search and rescue crew wasn’t capable of deliver anybody dwelling alive that day, they managed to supply closure to not one, however two households, closing one other nationwide park lacking individuals case.

Scott Walsh





The place Discovered

Close to the Pipe Creek Overlook

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