Yellowstone tourist gets instant safety lesson after wandering off boardwalk to photograph hot springs with iPad

Boardwalk through thermal area at Yellowstone National Park
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A man got a swift safety lesson at Yellowstone National Park after leaving the safety of the boardwalk to take close-up photos of a thermal pool with his iPad. The visitor ignored warning signs to get right up to the steaming water, but was swiftly apprehended by a Park Ranger who spotted him trespassing.

Photos of the incident, which appears to have happened during the summer, went viral last week after being shared by infamous Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone, which calls out bad behavior at US National Parks, including visitors chasing bears and trying to pet bison.

The boardwalks in Yellowstone's geothermal areas serve two purposes, protecting the delicate landscape and keeping visitors safe. The soil around geothermal features can be very thin, with boiling groundwater underneath, and many people have died over the years after falling into pools and springs accidentally.

The National Park Service (NPS) takes trespassing in these areas very seriously, and those who ignore the rules face hefty fines or even jail time. Even celebrities aren't exempt; last week James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan was accused of straying from the trails near the hot springs, and reports claim he will appear in court later this month to answer charges. 

"Always walk on boardwalks and designated trails," warns the NPS. "Keep children close and do not let them run on boardwalks. Do not touch thermal features or runoff. Swimming or soaking in hot springs is prohibited. More than 20 people have died from burns suffered after they entered or fell into Yellowstone’s hot springs."

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.