Has Anyone Ever Fallen into a Geyser?

Visitors have in the past slipped and fallen into hot springs, or were severely injured with burns from erupting geysers, but it is extremely rare.
Man on a Yellowstone boardwalk in front of a hot springs

Falling into a geyser or hot springs is an extremely rare event.

Similarly with grizzly bear attacks, lightning strikes, drowning and other rare incidences, visitors to Yellowstone have in the past slipped and fallen into scalding pools of boiling water or were severely injured with third degree burns from erupting geysers.

The most recent death happened in 2016, when a young man went off trail with his sister and accidentally submerged himself into the boiling waters near Porkchop Geyser in the Norris Geyser Basin. Horror stories and local legends abound—kids, adults and a curious dog met a scalding death—but all cases have a single lesson about Yellowstone’s hot spring wilderness: stay on the proper trails and footpaths.

In true wilderness areas like Mammoth Hot Springs, wandering off the boardwalk could spell certain danger and possible death. Feet can easily punch through the brittle ground, exposing groundwater that can reach 250 degrees, melting soles and scalding feet with third degree burns.

Though more than 20 people have been killed in the past by some of Yellowstone’s 10,000 geothermal pools, geysers, mudpots, steam vents and hot springs, you should keep in mind that Yellowstone draws more than three million visitors a year. The chances are incredibly slim for anyone to fall into pool of geothermal boiling death, or even getting a severe burn from a geyser’s eruption. So much depends on following the park’s strict safety instructions in order to avoid. Parents must always keep a close eye on their children and pets. Only walk on the boardwalks and trails so you and your loved ones can enjoy these natural wonders from a safe distance.

Related Stories: "Unnatural" Deaths in Yellowstone National Park - and How to Avoid ThemGeothermal Attractions can be Dangerous


Old Faithful at Sunset

How Can I Avoid the Crowds at Old Faithful?

Every year, Yellowstone draws in nearly three million visitors—most of them eager to see Old Faithful. The busy days of June through September.

Test tube geyser from YouTube video

Why Do Geysers Erupt?

Watch a video showing a test tube "geyser" with clear looping chambers underneath. It slowly bubbles until the pressure is reached, creating a blast.

Yellowstone Old Faithful Geyser

See Old Faithful and 60% of the World's Geysers in Yellowstone's Upper Geyser Basin

See Old Faithful, Castle Geyser, Riverside Geyser and geothermal features of Yellowstone country's steaming vents, erupting geysers and gurgling hot springs.


Rare Microbes Flourish in Yellowstone National Park Geysers and Hot Springs

The Thermal Biology Institute at Montana State University studies life forms and microbes found in the hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park.

Grizzly bear by lake

How many people get killed by bears in Yellowstone?

Although both black bears and grizzlies have a fearsome reputation for scratching or mauling people to death, attacks rarely occur, and deaths are even chancer.


Watch Geysers Erupt in Yellowstone

Yellowstone is the largest active geyser field in the world.

A woman viewing Morning Glory Pool from the boardwalk

Things Stuffed Down Yellowstone's Geysers

From laundry to couches, soap to horseshoes, Old Faithful and neighboring Yellowstone geysers and hot springs have been a receptacle for more than just water since the park's inception. The latest has been a drone that dived into the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring

Yellowstone's most famous geyser, Old Faithful at Twilight

8 Best Yellowstone Geyser Basins and Map

A map showing Yellowstone's geyser basins including the Upper Geyser Basin with Old Faithful and Morning Glory Pool, and nearby Grand Prismatic.

Emerald Spring in the Norris Back Geyser Basin. Photo by Gloria Wadzinski

Extreme Geysers in Yellowstone's Norris Back Basin

At the Norris Back Geyser Basin, you'll see a land of extremes... the tallest, but infrequent geyser, geysers that erupt continuously, springs that have been damaged by man, new geysers, old geysers, and exploding geysers.