Black Sand Basin

Black Sand Basin is an isolated group of geysers and pools in Yellowstone National Park’s Upper Geyser Basin. This section of the UNESCO World Heritage listed park has an accessible ¼ mile trail. This entry focuses on just a few of the geysers and pools in the Black Sand Basin.

Black Sand Basin at the Upper Geyser Basin at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Black Sand Basin

 

Jagged Spring

From the parking lot, the first feature encountered is a small spring, Jagged Spring. It’s in near-constant activity but almost never erupts. The spring appeared in the 1930s and the smaller Ragged Spring is behind it.

Jagged Spring at Black Sand Basin at the Upper Geyser Basin at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Jagged Spring

 

Cliff Geyser

A short walkway takes you to the edge of Iron Spring Creek where you can get a good look at Cliff Geyser. This unpredictable geyser can erupt for 30 minutes to three hours with a height of 40 feet. It’s named after its setting which looks like it’s at the edge of a cliff.

Iron Spring Creek at Black Sand Basin at the Upper Geyser Basin at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Iron Spring Creek

Cliff Geyser at Black Sand Basin at the Upper Geyser Basin at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Cliff Geyser

 

Green Spring

Continuing along the main path to the left is Green Spring. It’s usually a very calm greenish colored pool, although it is known to erupt. Eruptions are extremely rare, with the first recorded one in 1934. The spring doesn’t look very interesting and I was more intrigued by the colors on the cliff in the background.

Green Spring at Black Sand Basin at the Upper Geyser Basin at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Green Spring

Colorful cliffside at Black Sand Basin at the Upper Geyser Basin at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Colorful cliffside

 

Emerald Pool

At the left fork in the path is the most beautiful feature at Black Sand Basin. Emerald Pool is a rich green pool with a depth of 25 feet. Unfortunately, vandalism has caused the temperature to drop to about 154°F. Further temperature drops could cause the pool to lose the emerald green color it’s named for.

Emerald Pool at Black Sand Basin at the Upper Geyser Basin at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Emerald Pool

 

Rainbow Pool

Back along the path on the right fork, Rainbow Pool is a huge 100ft x 130ft pool with a depth of 27 feet. The edges of the pool resemble the colors of the rainbow. In front of it is Handkerchief Pool. It was a very popular pool in the early days of the park but has been permanently damaged since 1929. Visitors were encouraged to drop handkerchiefs at one end of the pool where convection currents would suck it down into the vent. The handkerchief would spin around a bit and pop back up to the surface nicely laundered.

Rainbow Pool at Black Sand Basin at the Upper Geyser Basin at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Rainbow Pool

 

Sunset Lake

The final feature, Sunset Lake, is the largest pool in Black Sand Basin. It measures 145ft x 191ft. It usually has a steam cloud hovering above it, sometimes making it difficult to see all of the colors. I was lucky during my visit.

Sunset Lake at Black Sand Basin at the Upper Geyser Basin at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Sunset Lake

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