The Most Gruesome National Parks Book Series
It’s not all fun and games in the parks
Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.
In 1995, Roberts Rinehart published Death in Yellowstone, a story collection of true tales of demise within the park’s boundaries. Written like a pulp novel, the book sold more than 150,000 copies.
National Parks Centennial100 reasons to love the parks (and a few things we’d improve)
Today there are seven more volumes, each containing breathless-but-real accounts of ends met at a different national park. Here are three of the most cringe-worthy excerpts.
“ ‘He’s ripping my arm!’ the girl screamed as the bear bit into her sleeping bag. The bear had the zipper; she could not escape. Seconds later she cried again, ‘Oh my god, I’m dead!’ ”
“She was standing on top of the falls when she slipped on the mossy rocks and fell. The undertow trapped her between two rocks and kept her deep underwater. Visitors who were at the scene formed a human chain and tried to reach the girl, but the current was too strong.”
Hot Springs Disaster
“Kirwan’s entire body was badly burned, as the skin was peeling off. ‘That was a stupid thing I did,’ Kirwan spoke softly. Another man ran up and began to remove one of Kirwan’s shoes, and the men watched horrified as the skin came off with it.”
—From Death in Yellowstone