As we get closer to peak tourist season, we thought it might be fun to reminisce.

And while there will no doubt be new dumb and dumber tourist missteps in national parks to amuse us in 2024, we thought it might be fun to revisit the Great Tour-on Chicken Bake from several years ago. Who needs a camp stove and boiling water for cooking when you have Yellowstone National Park's thermal areas to create the perfect gourmet cuisine!

Yellowstone National Park
Image courtesy of Getty Images, zrfphoto


My friends from the Montana Outdoor Radio Show reminded me about the group of 10 people deciding to hike through a thermal area, illegally, at Yellowstone and cook some whole chickens in a hot spring a few years ago. They made their way to Geyser Basin, where a park ranger found two whole chickens in a burlap bag in the hot springs, along with a cooking pot nearby.

Several of the tourists received fines and two-year bans from national parks for foot travel in a thermal area.

It is of course illegal to touch thermal features or throw objects into the hot springs or other hydrothermal features. Water in those hot springs can cause severe or even fatal burns. Yellowstone's tourism guides will tell you that the Norris Geyser Basin is the oldest AND hottest of the park's thermal areas. A temperature of 459 degrees has been recorded at just over a thousand feet below the surface, and readings of under 200 degrees anywhere are uncommon.

What to expect this year? Anybody's guess, but you just know there will be some crazy incidents that defy logic.

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