Black Sand Basin Trail

This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Very Easy
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
0.8 km
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
3 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The Black Sand Basin Trail is a short and easy hike in Yellowstone National Park. This trail is family-friendly and appropriate of all ages and abilities. Dogs, unfortunately, are not permitted on this trail.

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Route Description for Black Sand Basin Trail

The Black Sand Basin Trail is a short and sweet hike in Yellowstone. This trail does not have much shade, so be sure to layer on the sunscreen, wear a good sunhat, and bring a bottle of water for your hike. This route follows a boardwalk that gets icy and slippery in the late season. If you are visiting Yellowstone in October or later, we recommend bringing along a set of traction devices for extra grip. With incredible views of several thermal features, the Black Sand Basin Trail truly is a fantastic route in Yellowstone and well worth a stop.

Beginning at the trailhead, follow the boardwalk southwest over Iron Spring Creek to a divide, take the path on your right to go out-and-back up to the Rainbow Pool, then take the trail on the left to hike out-and-back to the Emerald Pool. After visiting both of these features, follow the boardwalk back to the Black Sand Basin Trailhead, where you began.

If you are looking for more to explore in the area after your hike, check out the Old Faithful Geyser Loop.

Getting to the Black Sand Basin Trail Trailhead

This hike begins at the Black Sand Basin Trailhead on the southside of Grand Loop Road, just east of the Old Faithful Visitors Center.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground


  • When to do

    May to September

  • Pets allowed


  • Family friendly


  • Route Signage


  • Crowd Levels


  • Route Type

    Out and back

Black Sand Basin Trail Elevation Graph

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