Calistoga Natural Attractions: Old Faithful Geyser
A trip to Calistoga would not be complete without a visit to the famous Old Faithful Geyser. This is one of the world's three famous Old Faithful Geysers -- the others are in Wyoming and New Zealand. Upon entering the geyser gift shop and snack bar, you are greeted by an ancient, friendly white kitty. Cats are relatively common fixtures in certain wine country businesses; it's not unusual to enter a bookstore or winery and catch site of one sleeping or greeting customers. The Old Faithful Geyser grounds also have more animals – there are goats and alpacas on the property.
But the real attraction here is obviously the sudden, stories-high surges of the geyser, which erupts about every half hour. Most people think only of the Yellowstone Park geyser when they hear the term "old faithful.” However, the term is actually used to describe any geyser that erupts on a regular, periodic basis. Calistoga’s version is magnificent! Here, boiling hot (350-degree Fahrenheit) water shoots 60 feet into the bright blue sky, while viewers gather casually around, hoping to catch a good photo. Calistoga's geyser gets its water from an underground river, heated to boiling by flowing over hot magma. Pressure from the boiling water and steam builds up underground until the geyser erupts and releases the pressure.
These amazing surges are really worth seeing – they’re entertaining for visitors of all ages. In addition to the geyser surges and animals, the grounds include a fascinating exhibit on geyser eruptions and earthquake predictions. There are also benches and tables where you can sit and wait to see the show or enjoy a picnic lunch.
OLD FAITHFUL GEYSER
1299 Tubbs Lane
Calistoga, CA 94515
Hours: 9 am to 6 pm daily, 365 days a year