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- Address: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA
- Hours: Black Sand Basin is on the western side of the Lower Loop of Yellowstone’s Grand Loop Road.
- Admission: Free, aside from the $30 entrance fee to Yellowstone National Park
Black Sand Basin is one of the shortest walks in Yellowstone National Park—but that doesn’t mean it’s short on sights or spectacular things to see. Rather, this volcanically heated, bubbling basin is a packed with geysers and pools, from the periwinkle colored Opalescent Pool, to the Spouter Geyser which consistently erupts for up to 10 hours at a time. At Emerald Pool, where the water temperature is slightly lower than neighboring Rainbow Pool, the water casts a deep green hue of molten emeralds, whereas Rainbow Pool is slightly warmer and tinged with yellow and orange. Occasionally, depending upon eruptions, the Cliff Geyser will come to life and send water 40 feet high, although unlike Old Faithful just one mile south, the interval is irregular enough to the point you should consider yourself lucky if you see it erupt. As for how it acquired its name, Black Sand Basin is named for obsidian that’s been crushed down into the earth—giving the ground a darker tint due to a sprinkling of jet-black sand.
Black Sand Basin is just west of the village and turnoff for Old Faithful, and is accessed via a wooden boardwalk that runs for .4 miles. Across the street from the parking area, a half mile trail leads to Daisy Geyser and the Upper Geyser Basin, which reconnects with the trails by Old Faithful for a steaming, geyser-filled loop. Because it’s located on the Grand Loop Road—which is closed to vehicles in the winter—Black Sand Basin is best visited in either summer or fall.