Distance: .5 mile (in and out)
Best time of year: Year-round
Last hiked: 2015 September
For those already in the neighborhood of Old Faithful, Black Sand Basin is a short and sweet boardwalk trail that features some colorful and quite interesting thermal features. It’s an easily accessible and easily walkable trail whose highlights include Spouter Geyser, Emerald Pool, and Sunset Lake (pictured above), a massive hot spring lined with colorful thermophiles that makes the detour completely worth it.
The basin is primarily known for Emerald Pool, though early tourists who threw objects into the pool are now to blame for its decreasing temperature resulting in a fading of color over time. It’s still quite colorful so it definitely shouldn’t be passed up! Opalescent Pool is one of the newer features to the area, coated with a unique color and surrounded by stained pine trees that it overtook in its development.
The name Black Sand Basin comes from the obsidian sand and lava rock that is found around the basin.
From the Old Faithful Visitor Center, drive out to the main highway, and in less than half-a-mile, you’ll see Black Sand Basin on the left. There’s also an option to walk to the basin from Old Faithful which will bring you past Daisy Geyser as well.