Back country Thermal areas should not be entered without detailed information and knowledge about the features located there. It is best and highly recommended by experienced Yellowstone Geyser Observers to always enter the area with someone who has been there before and who knows the specific area and its dangers.
When possible stay off the area of sinter (silica) deposition. View the features from stable safe vegetated areas on the outside of the thermal area.
Do not get close to geysers especially ones you have not seen erupt several times. Large eruptions could scald you in its spray. Remember that geysers do not always erupt to the same heights and seeing one eruption may not be enough to judge safe distances.
When approaching hot springs or pools never walk directly toward them. Pools can have dangerous overhangs and thin crust. Always circle pools and springs and give them a wide berth
Tripping or falling in to hot pools is a hazard that has claimed lives at Yellowstone. Stay at least your body height away from a pool or thermal features so if you stumble you will not fall in.
When ever possible stay off of bacterial mats in overflow channels and thermal creeks. This will protect you from slipping and falling or getting into water that is too hot. It will also protect the thermal feature and its plant life. Leave no footprints if possible.
Be cautious near mud pots or in areas that appear to be dried mud. Dried mud can be just a thin crust on hot, dangerous mud pots and mud flats. What looks like solid ground often isn't.
As always remember that the back country is the home of bears and other wild animals. Never approach wildlife. Make noise or carry a "bear-bell" when you hike so you will not surprise a bear. Don't get so enthralled by thermal features that you forget basic bear safety.
Never hike alone especially in a back country thermal areas.
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Copyright © 1996, 1997 [Gregory L. Jones]. All rights reserved.