Chilling video shows men snapping photos on brink of 317-foot Yosemite waterfall after jumping barrier

Vernal Fall at Yosemite National Park
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Two men have been caught climbing over safety barriers and posing for photos crouching right on the brink of one of Vernal Fall at Yosemite National Park. The 317-foot waterfall is one of the most powerful in the park, and visitors can enjoy a spectacular view by hiking the Mist Trail, but it seems that wasn't enough for this pair.

A video of the two men (which you can see below) was shared online by fellow park visitor Maggie Hopkins, who spotted them from afar and used her camera's zoom function to capture evidence. Her recording was shared this week via Instagram account TouronsOfNationalParks, which calls out bad behavior at sites of natural beauty around the world. According to Hopkins, she "lost braincells" watching the pair.

Other examples have included a family posing for photos on the rim of the Grand Canyon, and a parent leading her child onto a cliff by a waterfall for a better view.

According to the National Park Service (NPS), water-related accidents are the second most common cause of death at Yosemite, and each year 15-20 people are rescued after falling into water accidentally, or getting in trouble during watersports or swimming. 

Hypothermia is a serious risk when people become immersed in water, particularly when waterways are swollen due to snowmelt in the spring. People may also be surprised by the strength of currents, and how even shallow water can sweep someone off their feet, and how easily hidden obstacles like rocks and roots can trap them underwater.

"Many accidents happen in places where hazards are not obvious," warns the NPS. "Keep in mind that one misstep on a rock, even above a seemingly calm pool, may result in inability to escape from a hazard downstream."

When you're hiking around waterfalls, bear in mind that trails are often slick, even if the route itself it short, so it's important to wear proper hiking boots or hiking shoes with deep treads and leave the flip-flops at home. Always stick to established trails; fast-moving water can erode rock and create steep drops that may not be easily visible, or could be hidden by vegetation.

The trail you plan to tackle may be steep, so check it out in advance and make sure it's something you feel confident tackling bearing in mind your own fitness and level of experience. If you find yourself questioning whether to to proceed, it's safest to turn back.

For more advice, take a look at our guide nine safety tips for waterfall hikes.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.