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Yellowstone National Park: Black Sand Geyser Basin

Take a tour of multi-colored hot pools and a crater-like geyser on this easy-going, 0.4-mile boardwalk stroll in Yellowstone’s Black Sand Geyser Basin.

Trip Tools

Named for the obsidian sand that is common throughout this basin, Black Sand Geyser Basin is home to a plethora of steaming geysers and hot springs. This quick, 0.4-mile boardwalk tour starts at the parking area just west of Old Faithful and heads southwest. In 35 feet, turn right to access an observation deck overlooking Cliff Geyser, a sporadic, crater-like geyser. Next, cross a footbridge over Iron Spring and turn left on the boardwalk that leads to the deep greens of Emerald Pool, one of the park’s most well-known hot springs. Finish off the tour at the aptly-named Rainbow Pool whose multi-colored waters are caused by algae and cyanobacteria.

MORE PARK INFO Yellowstone National Park, (307) 344-7381;

-Mapped by Jeff Chow

To Trailhead

From West Thumb, head southwest on Grand Loop Rd./US 14/US 16/US 20. In 0.2 mile, turn right onto Grand Loop Rd./John D Rockefeller Jr. Rd. Go 18 miles to trailhead parking on the left.

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