What Not to Do in Yellowstone

Your trip to Yellowstone is one you’ll probably remember fondly for the rest of your life. Of course, that depends on you being safe and smart on your trip. There are some actions tourists take that could put their lives in danger, and threaten wildlife as well.

To ensure your trip goes smoothly and in fact ends up as one you can look back on with joy, there are certain things you should not do when you’re in the park. Here are a few examples.

Don’t get close to the wildlife

This is perhaps the most important reminder Yellowstone Tour Guides has to give out over and over again all year long. The wildlife is just that—wild. If you get too close, you risk being attacked. 

Visitors should remain at least 25 yards away from bison and at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves. Ideally you will keep even more distance.

If you visit the park, you will undoubtedly see people getting out of their cars and trying to get close to wildlife to get good pictures. This is horrendously misguided, and could jeopardize your life if you attempt to do so. These animals are fast, and will lash out if they feel threatened. If you see an animal changing its behavior in response to your presence, you are too close to them, no matter how much distance you believe you’re giving them.

It’s especially important to avoid getting close to animals if there are babies or youths around—mothers will be very protective of their young and will be more likely to jump straight to aggression.

Don’t wander off the boardwalks

There are boardwalks throughout Yellowstone that take visitors around hot springs and geyser basins. These boardwalks are there for a reason—it’s not safe for you to wander off of them. In certain areas, you might accidentally wander in to a geyser basin or into a hot spring.

Water in the springs can reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit, which can very quickly cause severe burns or death. Even if it doesn’t look like there’s standing water, the ground may be thin enough surrounding these springs that you could plunge through into hot water.

In addition, the hot springs might look attractive as a sort of natural hot tub. But these are not hot springs for soaking or swimming—you can be severely burned by these springs. There are other springs around the country and the world that are great for soaking, but not those in Yellowstone.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew

There are plenty of opportunities to get into the backcountry and hike some fantastic trails. However, you should be careful not to attempt more than what you can handle. Stay on the trails rather than wandering off into the wilderness. Don’t try to take on extensive trails that will be too long for your fitness level or comfort. Avoid going to high elevations or on particularly strenuous trails if you are inexperienced.

For more tips about what to do (and NOT to do) during your visit to the national park, contact Yellowstone Tour Guides today.