Yellowstone Park is beautiful, but can be dangerous
Beautiful sapphire thermal pool at Yellowstone National Park.
Raised walkways let visitors walk through the thermal geyser and pool areas safely.
Two visitors receive thermal burns this month
August 23, 2005
Pinedale is just a stoneís throw from two of the nationís most beautiful national parks: Yellowstone and Grand Teton. In two separate incidents this past month, two separate visitors were burned in thermal areas because they walked into closed areas at Yellowstone Park.
These parks handle between 2-4 million visitors a year. Despite all the money that goes into making the parks visitor-friendly with raised paved pathways, directional signs and plenty of staff on hand to answer questions, some people still try to go off-trail to explore and find themselves abruptly up close and personal with the harsh side of nature.
A couple of weeks ago, a 50-year old woman from Spain went off-trail in a closed area at Potts Basin near West Thumb and stepped through thin ground crust into hot water, receiving second degree burns to her left foot and ankle. Also earlier this month, a 49-year old man from New Hampshire was burned after walking off-trail near Lone Star Geyser in the Old Faithful area and stepping into a hot muddy area. He received second degree burns to the top of his left foot up and around his left ankle and lower calf.
If youíre coming to Pinedale to visit, we encourage visitors to also schedule in time to make a day trip up to the parks if they have time. If you do go, please stay on boardwalks and designated trails while viewing all thermal features at Yellowstone National Park. For safety, donít go off the designated paths and keep children under control. Scalding water underlies thin, breakable crusts; many geyser eruptions are unpredictable, and thermal features are near or above boiling temperatures. Boardwalks and trails help protect park visitors and prevent damage to delicate formations.
Yellowstone makes a wonderful late summer, early fall outing. A lot of the traffic goes away with kids back in school, the bugs have died down with the cooler temperatures, elk start bugeling and grouping their harems and the fall colors start to unfold.
From Pinedale itís only 3 hours to Yellowstone National Park. You can see a lot of it in a day, but itís more relaxing if you make two out of the trip so you can stop and walk around all the magnificent features. Itís kind of a combination McDonalds/K-Mart highly packaged and commercialized type of experience where everything is pre-determined for what you see and how you see it.
Visitors will easily find everything for accommodations, food services, gift shops, restrooms, fuel, and more to get through this beautiful park with minimal exertion. You'll go through Grand Teton National Park, and see the magnificent Tetons, to get to Yellowstone. Facilities start closing down in the park in late September and into October, depending on the weather and snowfall. Trip planners and information about lodging near the park are available online.
Yellowstone National Park September visit 2004 (POL photo story)
Yellowstone Park National Park Service official website