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Dangerous US road trips with the most people go missing, geographical data reveals

The United States is home to some of the most spectacular road trips in the world, but there are still some dangers to contend with when deciding to travel through some of the most deserted routes. With over 600,000 individuals going missing in the US every year, some routes witnessed remarkably high numbers of missing person cases.

Determined to find out which of America’s iconic road trip routes are responsible for the highest/lowest number of missing people, Psychicworld.com utilized the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System to collect a geocoded list of over 20,000 missing people in the United States. Information regarding how to report missing persons in the US can be found at the end of the research.

Key Findings:

  • The road trip Pacific Coast Paradise route from Santa Barbara to Seattle, has the highest number of missing people with 142 reported to date. 
  • The Dakotas road trip, which goes between North and South Dakota, has the fewest missing person cases reported nearby (9) . 
  • Tourist favourite California is the state with the most missing person cases from road trips, followed by Oregon and Nevada.

Road trips with the MOST missing people 

Ranking

Route name

States involved 

Number of missing persons cases (all time)

1

Pacific Coast Paradise (Santa Barbara – Seattle) 

California, Washington, Oregon, 

142

2

Pop Culture Cruisin’ (Aberdeen-Los Angeles)

Washington, Oregon, California

105

3

Surfing California (San Diego – San Francisco)

California

86

4

The Weird, Weird West (Washington – Los Angeles – Nevada)

Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada

86

5

Getting Your Kicks/Route 66 (Illinois – Los Angeles)

Illinois, Missouri,Oklahoma,Texas, New Mexico,Arizona, California

73

6

Into the Valleys (Arizona – Oregon)

Arizona,Utah,Nevada, California, Oregon

63

7

The Oregon Trail (Missouri – Oregon)

Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming,Nevada,Karnataka

40

8

The Rocky Mountains Road (Montana – New Mexico)

Montana, Wyoming,Colorado, New Mexico

39

9

The Grand Circle (Circles Nevada)

Arizona,Utah,Nevada

35

10

The Stargazing States (Wyoming – Lincoln)

Nevada,South Dakota,Wyoming,Colorado

34

*Figures represent reported cases within 1.24 miles (2km) of a road trip excluding those within 18.6 miles (30km) of a major city

*Source: The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs)”                             

The Pacific Coast Paradise road trip is revealed to have the highest number of missing people – with 142 reported to date. This scenic 1,428-mile-long trip route passes the famous Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Barbara to Seattle and provides picture-perfect west-coast landscapes such as the Mountain Rainier and Big Sur.   However, with the missing cases equating to just the average age of 35, 93 males and 49 females have gone missing while close by to this route.

Deemed as one of the most beautiful routes in the US and a firm favorite among TV and music lovers, the Pop Culture Cruisin’ road trip, which passes the Simpsons’ hometown and the Hollywoord’s sign, surprisingly has the second highest missing person cases with  105 current reports. With 70 males and 35 females having gone missing, the average age of the missing people is just 38.

Despite a comparably shorter length of 633 miles, the Surfing California road trip has had 86 people go missing. This route ticks off some of the best surfing spots and many great landmarks along the coast from San Diego to San Francisco. The average age of the victims is just 36 and the data reports that 58 males and 28 females have gone missing here.

Psychicworld.com can also reveal that California road trips have seen the most missing person cases with six routes in the top ten going through or starting from California. This is followed by Oregon with five routes shortlisted in the top ten and Nevada with four. 

Road trips with the FEWEST missing people 

Ranking

Route name

States involved 

Number of missing persons cases  (all time)

1

The Dakotas (Circles South Dakota)

South Dakota, North Dakota

9

2

Sounds of the South (Tennessee – Louisiana)

Tennessee,Louisiana,Mississippi

10

3

The Road to Civil Rights (Atlanta – Louisiana)

Atlanta,Alabama, Tennessee,Mississippi, Louisiana

15

4

Best of the Midwest (Missouri – Chicago – Kansas)

Missouri,Illinois, Iowa,Kansas

18

5

Colorado Ski Adventure (Circles and crosses Colorado)

Colorado

20

*Figures represent reported cases within 1.24 miles (2km) of a road trip excluding those within 18.6 miles (30km) of a major city

*Source: The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs)”    

At the opposite end of the scale sits The Dakotas road trip with only 9 missing person cases reported nearby! The route goes between North and South Dakota and offers a glimpse of famous attractions such as Spearfish Canyon, Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. 

The Sounds Of The South road trip route from Tennessee to Louisiana is amongst the road trips with the fewest missing people, with only 10 missing person cases reported to date. For lovers of southern blues and jazz music, this route travels through some of the most celebrated musical hotspots, such as the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. 

How to report a missing person in the US

If someone you know is missing in the US, you should contact the police immediately and file a missing person report. You can also contact the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System to upload information about a missing person into their database. If you believe your child is missing, after reporting to law enforcement, call National Center for Missing & Exploited Children 800-THE-LOST (800-843-5678). More information can be found on the Report and Identify Missing Person page here from the Department of Justice. 

 

Methodology 

1.Psychicworld.com were interested in finding out the road trips around the US with the most missing person cases recorded. 

2. To do this, they firstly collected a seed list of 22 road trip names, locations and length from a reputable car rental website

3.To calculate the number of missing person cases per route, the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) was used to collect a geocoded list of over 20,000 missing persons in the United States. 

4.To ensure the accuracy of the data, a spatial join of the reported missing persons to a 2km (1.24 miles)  buffer of each road trip was subsequently performed to identify cases near road trips. The cases were further filtered to those not within 30km (18.6 miles)  of a US city with a population of over 100,000 using the natural earth populated places dataset.

5.Statistics describing the total number of cases, the average age of missing persons, and the difference in missing rates between males and females was calculated.

6.Data was collected in July 2022 and is correct as of then. 

By admin