• Steam rises off of the colorful Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces. Photo courtesy Jacob W. Frank


    National Park ID,MT,WY

Visitors Ticketed For Walking On Old Faithful Geyser Cone

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Date: April 28, 2011
Contact: Al Nash or Dan Hottle, 307-344-2015

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior

Yellowstone National Park
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
April 28, 2011           11-025  
Al Nash or Dan Hottle (307) 344-2015


Visitors Ticketed For Walking On Old Faithful Geyser Cone

Members of a tour group were issued citations Wednesday evening for walking on the cone of the world’s most famous geyser.

An individual from Wisconsin called to tip-off park rangers after watching the situation unfold on the Old Faithful live streaming web cam. When the first park ranger arrived on the scene, she found approximately 30 people off the boardwalk, standing around the cone of the geyser taking photographs.

After getting them safely back on the boardwalk, members of the group told the ranger they had not seen any of the numerous and prominent signs they walked past which warn visitors of the dangers found in thermal areas and of the requirement to stay on boardwalks and designated trails.

The tour group leader, the bus driver, and one member of the first group of four visitors who walked off the boardwalk were cited for being off trail in a thermal area, a violation of federal law with a $125 fine.

Articles in the free park newspaper, on the park web site, podcasts, and on signs posted throughout the park, all remind visitors to stay on boardwalks and established trails when visiting Yellowstone National Park.  

For their safety and the safety of others, visitors are told to keep children close and not to run on boardwalks or on trails in thermal areas. Pets are not allowed in or near thermal areas. Swimming in the hot pools is prohibited.

Unfortunately, almost every year one or more visitors who ignore all these warnings fall through the fragile, thin crust in a thermal area and are burned by the boiling water beneath.

There are more than 10,000 geysers, hot springs, mud pots, and steam vents in Yellowstone National Park, the largest collection of hydrothermal features anywhere in the world. Old Faithful erupts about every 90 minutes, shooting a column of boiling water and steam 130 feet or more into the air.

This is not the first time a web cam viewer has notified park rangers about visitors off boardwalk and on the cone of Old Faithful. The most famous prior incident occurred in May 2009, when six visitors were spotted urinating in the geyser cone. They were found guilty of a variety of charges, with one of the six fined $750, placed on three years of probation, and banned from the park for two years.

- www.nps.gov/yell -


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