Old Faithful Geyser of California, in Napa Valley, is one of the most visited places in the American West. This isn’t Old Faithful, that’s in Yellowstone Park. But, this geyser erupts roughly every 10 to 45 minutes, sometimes more frequently. It has its own museum dedicated to geology, an animal farm and petting zoo, and bocce courts.
North of the Napa Valley spa town of Calistoga, Old Faithful Geyser of California (to distinguish it from Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming) sprays water straight into the air every 30 minutes or so. Old Faithful Geology Museum serves as the visitor center and includes a gift shop. The small museum delves into how geysers work and provides some history of the region. A small animal farm, with goats, sheep, and llamas, picnic tables, and bocce courts are on-site.
Old Faithful Geyser tours include admission to the museum and visits with the goats, sheep, and llamas.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Old Faithful Geyser is part of an extinct volcano.
- Most visits to the Old Faithful Geyser are short, so it makes a great interlude and provides a nice change of pace from touring Napa Valley wineries.
- The geyser and grounds are wheelchair accessible, but some areas are covered with loose gravel.
- The small gift shop on-site sells locally made crafts, wine, and snacks.
- While the geyser is appropriate for all ages, nature doesn’t always behave as expected. Patience may be required to see the geyser.
How to Get There
Old Faithful Geyser of California is about 2 miles (3 kilometers) north of Calistoga. Driving from San Francisco is the most convenient option, though it can also be accessed by bicycle and the Calistoga Shuttle, an on-demand transit service within city limits that stops at the geyser.
When to Get There
Old Faithful Geyser spouts regularly, no matter the day or season. It’s rarely crowded but is most popular in sunny weather. The geyser is open year-round: 8:30am–7pm from March 1–September 30, 8:30am–6pm in October, and 8:30am–5pm from November 1–February 28.
From Geysers to Wine
Eons ago, much of Napa Valley was a volcano. It erupted about 4 million years ago, creating the Petrified Forest and the hot springs and rich soils that are an important part of the valley's spa and wine businesses. Local lore states that the geyser’s eruption cycle slows down before an earthquake.