Sunrise at Black Sand Basin, Yellowstone National Park

Viewing Black Sand Basin © 2010 Bo Mackison

Black Sand Basin is a rather isolated group of thermal features in the Upper Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park. There are several jewel colored pools and geysers in the area, but I had a hard time concentrating on the specific geysers because the earliest light from the sunrise hitting the steam in 40˚F weather had turned this area, already a Wonderland, into a gigantic, purplish-yellow kaleidoscope of almost unnatural, but dazzling color.

There were only two other visitors at this time of the day, but it was one of the highlights of my three days in Yellowstone. Later, when I watched Old Faithful–the big geyser draw in the park–amongst a noisy crowd of onlookers, I kept thinking I had already seen the real show — at sunrise in Black Sand Basin.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. I agree that you saw the real show! Beautiful shot! A noisy crowd would throw me off, I think. Such beauty, in solitude, is priceless!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      We were at the thermal areas before sunrise every day and after sunset, too — when most sane travelers were either snug in their lodging facilities or eating leisurely meals. I’m glad we had our tiny trailer — we’d roll out, grab cereal and hot tea/coffee and be on the road. For sure, we saw some of the best of Yellowstone.

  2. Joanna Paterson says:

    That’s stunning!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      You are right about that. Yellowstone is stunning — one of only 3 thermal areas like this in the world. (The other two are in New Zealand and Iceland.)

  3. Definitely a show worth remembering. Stunning image. Beautifully framed..and such wonderful light!

  4. Yow! I’m with you, Bo. Just look at that color! Ethereal – stunning – beautiful – and peaceful! Crowds always seem to spoil nature’s shows. Thanks for sharing your trip with us in such detail.

  5. Well I can’t use the word “stunning,” but it is. There is a wonderful glow and richness to the texture.

Leave a Reply