Soda Springs Captive Geyser

by Troy Webb


The Soda Springs Captive Geyser was accidentally created by man. This is not a natural geyser like those found in Yellowstone National Park; nonetheless, this geyser is unique and has some great history tied to it as well.

In 1937, several local businessmen attempted to divert water from the Pyramid Hot Spring in hopes to create a commercial bathhouse and a tourist attraction. As the drilling reached 315 feet in depth, the drill hit a gas chamber, and shortly afterward hot water began gushing up the hole and was shooting 40 feet in the air.

Soda Springs Captive Geyser

The next day, as the 3500lb drill bit was extracted, the ground began to shake as if it were going to split open, and a roaring gusher of hot water shot 70 feet into the air. After several days, the water began to cool and become laden with minerals, which was unsuitable for a bath house. Two weeks later, the gusher was capped.

Although, the Soda Springs Captive Geyser never turned into a major tourist attraction, it did get some attention in its early years. Within weeks of its creation, the Secretary of Interior sent a telegram to the city of Soda Springs asking them to turn off the geyser. This request was due to the fact it was throwing the world-famous “Old Faithful Geyser” off schedule, which is located in Yellow Stone National Park. Today, the Captive Geyser is equipped with a timer valve that allows the geyser to erupt every hour on the hour throughout the year without interrupting the “Old Faithful Geyser”.

Soda Springs Captive Geyser

On windless days, this man-made geyser has been reported to reach heights between 100 and 150 feet. The mineral laden water has built up over time, creating a beautiful light brown rock formation around the geyser. There is a walkway with interpretive signs built around the geyser that allows visitors to explore the area.

Driving Directions:

From Bear Lake, Utah, travel 60 miles on US-89 north to Montpelier, ID. Once in Montpelier, travel on US-30 west to Soda Springs

From Salt Lake City, travel 138 miles via I-15 north to the Lava Hot Springs exit, US-30 west. From the exit, travel for approximately 32 miles to Soda Springs.

Other Location of Interest:

The Enders Hotel and Museum is located nearby of the geyser. The hotel is furnished with period antique furniture. The museum is located inside the hotel and provides visitors the opportunity to learn more about the history of Soda Springs, Idaho.

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