18-Year-Old Falls to Her Death While Posing for Photograph at Yellowstone National Park

grand canyon yellowstone national parkIn what has to be one of the saddest stories I've heard in a long time -- an 18-year-old woman fell and plummeted 400 feet to her death while she was posing for a picture on a rocky ledge at Yellowstone National Park. She was apparently out hiking on the North Rim Trail of the Grand Canyon with friends when she decided to venture off the beaten path to have her picture taken at a spot known as "Inspiration Point." As she sat down on the edge of the 1,500 foot deep canyon, the rocks gave way and there was nothing anyone could do to save her.

And what makes this story even more devastating is that she was planning on spending her entire summer at Yellowstone working with a concessions company -- and the accident happened on her very first day on the job.

My heart absolutely sunk when I heard about what happened to this poor girl, because I can't even begin to fathom what must have been going through her mind during her last final seconds. She had to have realized she was about to lose her life and was powerless to stop herself from falling.

And what makes the accident so much harder to stomach is the excitement she must have been feeling after kicking off her summer working at one of the most beautiful parks in the world. Being that she was only 18, she had a whole life of adventures ahead of her. To have them taken away simply because she wanted to have a photograph to commemorate her journey is just nothing short of tragic.

My condolences go out to her family, because I can't think of anything more horrifying as the parent of a teenager than to finally cut the cord & let your daughter out into the world -- only to have the unthinkable happen. As much as all parents want to keep their kids safe -- there's also a point where you have to let go and allow them to find their own way in life. Perhaps her family can find some peace in the fact that their daughter was chasing her dreams and living her life to fullest -- even though her time was cut short in such a terrible way.

My thoughts and prayers are definitely with them as they try and come to terms with their unimaginable loss.

What words of sympathy would you offer to this family?

Image via Redeo/Flickr

jobs, safety, death, accidents


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butte... butterflyfreak

It's very sad, yes, but also completely preventable! There's a reason why there are trails in State and National parks and when you go "off the beaten path" you are taking just such a risk. I feel sorry for this girl's family but I can't help but shake my head at the stupidity of youth which is ultimately what led to this girl's death.

And y'all can blast me for being heartless if you want to, it's not going to change my mind that this death could have been prevented!

Heath... HeatherMazzone

This gave me a lump in my throat :( so sad.

Laura Holtzman-Game

This is a very sad and tragic story and I ache for this young woman's family. However, the way you tell it it doesn't sound like she lost her life just because she "wanted to have a phtotgraph to commemorate her journey". It sounds like this tragedy occurred because she decided to "venture off the beaten path" and sit right at the edge of the canyon. The parks service puts up railings and signs to warn people that it is not safe to venture out too far but people always think they know better. There are fatal falls in Yosemite every year for this same reason. Please people, let this serve as a warning: that awesome photo isn't worth risking you life! Stay where it is safe.

nonmember avatar Lilac

I completely agree with you butterflyfreak. Its sad but completely preventable. She left the safe trail to sit/ dangle her legs over a ledge for a picture. I hope the parents don't sue for there daughters lack of common sense.

nonmember avatar Katrinanma

I'm confused...I didn't think the Grand Canyon was at Yellowstone

nonmember avatar Diana

@Katrinanma The article is unclear. She was hiking the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Not the Grand Canyon.

Missy... MissyKP610

Yikes, that is horrible! Poor girl. 

nonmember avatar Mike Morris

None the less, it was a human being that was lost at a young age. Just because they are 18 and considered adult, doesn't mean they know everything. I still have to give advice to my 3 adult kids. I as a parent, I can only imagine the heartache of the parents, you think you have taught them everything that comes with common sense. But sometimes, the thrill of being out on your own in such a beautiful surroundings, young people forget everything they have learned, we have all been there and done it!


UH HUH Coulda shoulda woulda didn't, in saying that, I'm sure the young lady excitedly discussed with her parents her venture, they like all parents didn't want to let her leave the nest, but realized that they had to let her go, they had their fears, even as she was separating from them the tears in that alone, the promise of calling them regularly to assure them she was all right, even as she got farther away to the point where she was no longer in their view, dad having to reassure mom that she'll be okay maybe visa versa, and then that most awful phone call or visit reaffirming your worst nightmares, its horrible to imagine, my heart goes out to them a million times over, its easy to be stoic and self assured when the shoe is on the other foot, but let me say this especially to the ones who's children are still young, 20/20 did an investigation on how easy it is for a child to go missing, self assured parents just knew it couldn't happen to them, each of their children took the bait, it was an eye opening experience.


What's my point? what does that story have to do with the one told? the endings, we prepare them for as much as we can in life, but just like us they are not perfect that's gods job and he's not stepping aside and giving it to anyone, some of those mistakes will be minor, some such as this will be costly! But at any rate don't deem one's self so perfect that it can't happen to you! my prayers again are with that family.

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