You might think of Calistoga, California as being famous for hot springs and spas, but did you know this little town at the north end of the Napa Valley is also home to Old Faithful Geyser? No, not the famous Old Faithful located in Yellowstone National Park, but a smaller natural geothermal feature that erupts about every 40 minutes. The privately owned park-like property is backdropped by the Palisade Mountains and 4,342-foot Mount Saint Helena. It’s also home to quite a few cute goats, a geology museum, two bocce ball courts, picnic areas, comfortable shaded seating, and a gift shop.
Although California’s Old Faithful is not on the scale of Wyoming’s world-renowned geyser, it shares the same name because it’s one of only a handful of geysers in the world that erupts on a “faithful” schedule. The formation of geysers (faithful or otherwise) anywhere on Earth is actually a fairly rare phenomenon. Generally, geyser sites are located near active volcanic areas, which means very particular hydrogeological conditions have to be in place to cause intermittent turbulent discharges of water and steam. California’s Old Faithful is also known to predict earthquakes. The owner of this property says it stops erupting about an hour and a half before an earthquake event. You can learn more about that inside the small geology museum that also includes information on volcanoes, tsunamis, and other geological wonders.
While waiting for Old Faithful to put on its show, you can pet and feed Jacob’s Four-Horn Sheep, Guard Llama, and Tennessee Fainting Goats. The name of the latter animal is a bit of a misnomer. The goats don’t really faint. Informative signage explains that they have “external muscles which freeze for roughly 10 seconds when the goat is startled. Though painless, this generally results in the animal collapsing on its side.” It’s doubtful you will see any activity even close to fainting, but the hungry cute goats are all fun to watch anyway.
IF YOU GO:
Old Faithful Geyser of California
1299 Tubbs Lane
Calistoga, CA 94515
(just north of downtown Calistoga between Highway 29 and Highway 128 on Tubbs Lane)
Phone: (707) 942-6463
Adults (12+) — $14.00
Seniors (65+) & Military — $12.00
Children (Ages 4-11) — $8.00
(Children under the age of 4 FREE)
Open 365 days:
May – October
Sunday – Thursday: 8:30 am – 8:00 pm
Friday – Saturday: 8:30 am – 9:00 pm
November – April
Every day 8:30 am – 7:00 pm
• Property has full wheelchair access to the gift shop and grounds. Grounds around the geyser, gardens and goat farm is small lose gravel.
• FREE parking in large lot – can accommodate all sizes of RVs
In addition to writing about her travels, Denise Seith is also a treasure hunter and loves a good latté. She and her husband own an online gold prospecting and metal detecting equipment store found at GoldRushTradingPost.com
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