Hike service

Human foot found in Yellowstone hot spring, park service investigates

GILLETTE, Wyo — No foul play is suspected in a hot spring-related death discovered after a human foot was found in Yellowstone National Park, the National Park Service said.

The foot was located in Abyss Pool, one of the deepest pools in Yellowstone National Park located in the West Thumb Geyser Basin, by a park service employee on August 16.

The foot may be linked to a July 31 incident where an ongoing Yellowstone law enforcement investigation uncovered evidence suggesting only one person died, according to NPS.

“Currently, the park believes there has been no foul play,” the park service said in an Aug. 19 statement. “The investigation is continuing to determine the circumstances surrounding the death.”

The discovery caused a temporary closure of West Thumb Geyser Basin and the associated parking lot; they have since reopened, per NPS.

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More than 20 people have been killed by geothermal pools in Yellowstone National Park, the most recent being a 2016 incident where a man allegedly slipped and fell into a pool at Norris Geyser Basin after leaving the designated walkway, according to NPS .

Others have been injured by hydrothermal attractions in Yellowstone, according to NPS, the most recent being a woman who tried to rescue her dog from Maiden’s Grave Spring and suffered 3rd degree burns in 2021.

The park service maintains designated walkways and posts signage around hydrothermal locations, advising of thin, fragile ground conditions with boiling water just below the surface.

Each year, park rangers rescue one or two visitors, often young children, who wander off the trails, according to the park service.

Visitors are reminded to stay on boardwalks and trails in thermal areas and to exercise extreme caution around thermal features in Yellowstone, per NPS.