The Only Captive Geyser in the World – Geyser Park in Soda Springs, ID

Idaho
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On my cave exploration trip to Idaho, I also came across this beautiful and interesting place. It was on my way while driving from Niter Ice Cave to Formation Springs Cave.

Geyser Park is located in the heart of Soda Springs, a small railroad town in Idaho. The park is just off one of the main roads in town but not very noticeable. There are signs on the street, but if you don’t know to look out for them, you most likely will pass through here, without even noticing. Except when the geyser erupts, you can see that from the street.

Getting There

Drive to Soda Springs and you will most likely get there by driving on U.S. Highway 30 or State Route 34. Turn north on S Main Street and Geyser Park will be on your left just before you cross the railroad tracks. There are two entrances to the parking lot, one just before the railroad tracks and the other one further south, at the intersection of E 1st Street S. Alternatively you can opt in to do street parking along Main Street. It is a super short stroll to Geyser Park and this gives your car additional protection from the water spouting out of the geyser. 

If you park in the parking lot next to Geyser Park, check for the wind direction and try to avoid parking your car too close to the geyser and downwind from the geyser. The water has lots of calcium in it and can give the paint of your car some nasty stains.

Address: 39 W 1st S, Soda Springs, ID 83276

Geyser Park

History

Soda Springs is known for its geyser and several mineral springs: Octagon Springs, Hooper Springs, and Lover’s Delight. On November 28, 1937, the geyser was born as a drill struck a carbon dioxide gas chamber 315 feet underground. But why did they drill here? A local businessman was searing for a hot water source for a bathhouse and health resort. Water started shooting out of the hole 40 feet high. After removal of the heavy drill bit, it shot even higher in the air, up to 70 feet. The Secretary of the Interior asked the city of Soda Springs to turn the geyser off because “… it is throwing the world-famous ‘Old Faithful Geyser’ off schedule.” The city then put the geyser on a timer and it now erupts every hour on the hour.

Today

The geyser is open year-round for anyone to enjoy. It still erupts every hour on the hour. Enjoy the show from the parking lot or the wooden boardwalk around the geyser. Be aware if there is a lot of wind that it might blow the erupted water towards you. Make sure the wind comes from behind you. Enjoy the day at the grassy area which has picnic tables and benches.  The geyser eruption lasts for a little bit over 5.5 minutes.

There is a visitor center next to the park. It features interpretive signs and restrooms. Unfortunately, the visitor center was closed because of Covid precautions but bathrooms were still open.

Ground Observer Corps Skywatch Post Soda Springs

Right next to the geyser you find a little watchtower. During the Cold War years of 1956 to 1959, this building served as skywatch post. There was a great fear of a Russian bomber attack and there was no radar coverage established as we have it now. The information sign below the building gives you a lot more information about the skywatch post.

Main Street

While you are here, check out the historic Main Street of Soda Springs. There are a few restaurants where you can enjoy a good meal while visiting the town and the geyser.

Across the street, you can find the Dinkey Little Engine, an old and historic locomotive on display. Unfortunately, it’s completely caged in for protection from vandalism and Instagramism, which also ruins the pictures a little bit.

If you are lucky enough you can watch a train rolling through town. The train tracks run behind geyser park and cross Main street.

Formation Springs Cave

If you are up for another adventure, visit Formation Spring Cave. The cave is located just shy of five miles to the north of Soda Springs.

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