Black Sand Basin Trail

EASY 9 reviews
#30 of 183 trails in

Black Sand Basin Trail is a 0.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from May until September.

0.5 miles
9 feet
Out & Back

kid friendly



nature trips



hot springs


wild flowers


no dogs

Black Sand Basin, an isolated group of the Upper Geyser Basin, was originally named the Emerald Group by A.C. Peale in 1878. But turn of the century tourists began calling it Black Sand Basin because of the small fragments of black obsidian sand which cover portions of the basin. Black Sand Basin contains a small collection of jewel-like geysers, and colorful hot springs. Emerald Pool is the most colorful and famous of these springs. It is a deep emerald green fringed by an outer ring of yellow and orange. Another colorful pool is Opalescent Pool. This recently formed pool inundated a stand of lodgepole pine, creating a stand of white skeletons amidst a rainbow-colored pool. An unusual geyser formed on the bank of Iron Creek. Cliff Geyser formed a rim or wall-like ridge of sinter around its crater from which it erupts 30 to 40 feet high. The famous Handkerchief Pool was once the drawing attraction to Black Sand Basin. Turn-of-the-century tourists dropped their handkerchiefs into this small spring. Convection currents then whisked their laundry away where it would reappear again at the surface, freshly laundered.

8 days ago

22 days ago

1 month ago

11 months ago

Went here with family years ago and loved it! Could spend so much time admiring the hot springs! So beautiful and so unique! Lots of thermal activity in this basin!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Black Sand geyser is unique in that before it erupts (not explosively) the ground around it jumps and there's loud thudding sound that can be disconcerting if not expected. But absolutely stunning!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Short trail with some fun thermal features.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Short walk

nature trips
Thursday, August 23, 2012