WATCH: Yellowstone Park Ranger Catches Tourist Walking on Old Faithful

by Caitlin Berard

Yellowstone National Park is a wonder to behold. It’s full of breathtaking canyons, roaring rivers, majestic wildlife, and, of course, countless gushing geysers. There’s a reason it’s recommended to map out at least three or four days for a trip to Yellowstone. You simply can’t see it all in a single day, or even two.

The only caveat? There are a few rules every visitor must follow, designed to protect not only tourists but the park itself and the wildlife that lives there.

The rules are simple enough. Don’t purposefully disturb wildlife, don’t hunt, don’t remove any of the flora or fauna, etc. All typical for a National Park and all essentially common sense.

One of the most important guidelines to follow when it comes to Yellowstone, specifically, is to stay on the designated paths and boardwalks. In doing so, visitors help maintain the integrity of the fragile terrain and protect themselves from the boiling water and steam from the geysers.

Now, the majority of visitors follow the rules of Yellowstone National Park to the letter. Some, however, take neither the rules nor the threat of danger seriously. Unfortunately for one unruly visitor, her transgression was both caught on camera and witnessed by a park ranger.

In the images and videos of the incident posted to Instagram, the tourist casually leaves the boardwalk, strolling right up to Old Faithful, the park’s most famous geyser. She then returns to the pathway, where a park ranger awaits to reprimand her for the unbelievably irresponsible action.

Yellowstone National Park Rule-Breaker Receives Jail Time

Sadly, yet wholly unsurprisingly, this is far from the first time Yellowstone National Park Rangers have taken action against injudicious visitors. Just last summer, a woman was sentenced to a week in jail after leaving the protective walkway to approach a thermal pool.

According to court documents, the woman was ordered to pay $2,040 in fines, fees, and community service. Following her jail time, the woman received two years probation, during which time she was banned from the park.

“A criminal prosecution and jail time may seem harsh,” said Bob Murray, acting US Attorney. “[But] it’s better than spending time in a hospital’s burn unit.”

Yellowstone National Park spokesperson Morgan Warthin spoke out about the incident as well. “The ground is fragile and thin,” they said. “And scalding water just below the surface can cause severe or fatal burns. More than 20 people have died from burns suffered after they entered or fell into Yellowstone’s hot springs.”

“Visitors must realize that walking on thermal features is dangerous, damages the resource, and illegal,” said Park Chief Ranger Sarah Davis in response to a similar situation. “Law enforcement officers take this violation seriously.”