Yellowstone tourist dodges safety barriers to lead child to brink of raging waterfall

Lower Falls at Yellowstone National Park
(Image credit: Getty)

A woman has been caught on camera at Yellowstone National Park evading barriers to bring her young child right to the edge of the Lower Falls – the biggest waterfall in the park. In the video, which you can watch below, the woman leads the youngster, who seems to be no older than seven, past the fencing and right to the edge of the roaring water.

The incident was recorded by Ryan Vaughn and shared on Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone, which highlights bad behavior at US National Parks and other sites of natural beauty. Other recent examples include visitors posing for photos with an 'absolute unit' of a bison, and a man sticking his hand in one of the park's geysers.

Accidents can happen easily around moving water and steep drops. In 2014, an eight-year-old girl was hiking with her family beside the Lower Falls when she accidentally stepped off the trail and lost her footing, falling over 500ft.

Safety first

The National Park Service (NPS) has placed safety barriers and warnings at most of the busiest and most dangerous areas, but some visitors choose to circumvent them to get a better view, or to show off on social media.

Earlier this year, three tourists became stuck on a cliff trying to get a better picture of the Upper Falls. 

"I was at the Upper Falls Middle Brink and three people decided to climb over the stone wall and onto the side of the mountain for better pictures," explained Lydia Toelle, who filmed the incident and shared it online as a warning. Toelle sent the video to authorities for investigation.

"My son is a Park Ranger," one person commented on Toelle's post. "He has worked at Yellowstone, and now at a different park, but when he was at Rocky Mountain [National Park] I can think of at least two times he had to go and hike to Bridal Veil falls and rescue a tourist who had fallen down the falls while trying to take a selfie.

"The person had to be carried down the trail to where they could be airlifted out. That is dangerous for everyone that has to put themselves in harm's way to save your butt when you do something stupid."

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.