Backcountry Thermal Areas
I. These pages describe backcountry geyser basins and thermal areas which are dangerous.
II. The descriptions of these areas are provided by people experienced in travel to backcountry geyser basins and thermal areas. These descriptions usually will not include specific warnings about potential dangers in these areas which do not have boardwalks or signs but these dangers are always present.
III. Backcountry areas are dangerous and have caused fatal injuries. New areas should never be entered without someone who can explain specific and necessary precautions and without preliminary reading to know the nature of the thermal features.
IV. The most common hazards are:
- Overhangs around pools,
- Hot mud with a deceptive crust,
- Hot mud with a deceptive mossy crust,
- Geysers that erupt in unpredictable directions,
- Geysers that have occasional superlative (larger) eruptions unexpectedly,
- Thin crust completely covering hidden hot pools,
- Unexpectedly hot runoff, and
- Areas that have changed since last written about and are far more dangerous than any written material could warn about.
V. Specific advice:
- Never approach the edge of a pool without checking for overhangs,
- Never stand closer than your height to the edge of something dangerous (so that if you keel over you won't fall in)
- Never stand close to a geyser that you do not understand, and
- DEFINITELY!! Try to avoid leaving unsightly footprints.