RATING: Roadside Attraction
LENGTH: 1+ hours
MAPS: Green River, UT
SEASON: Any, road impassable when wet.
Crystal Geyser is a cold water geyser near Green River. Due to it's unpredictability, it can be an exercise in patience. It can go off anywhere between every hour to 24+ hours! Even if you don't get lucky enough to see it erupting, it is an interesting place to visit. A 2005 study found 66% of the time the geyser erupts about every 8 hours. The rest of the time is anyone's guess! Feeling lucky?
The geyser was accidently created when a drilling operation in 1935 hit a pocket of soda. At the time, the well was over 800 meters deep but is likely now only a couple of hundred meters deep. It is interesting to note historically that John Wesley Powell noticed the mineral formations when he passed by July 13, 1869. Though at that time, it was simply a spring and not a geyser until the drilling incident in 1935.
When dry, the trailhead is reachable in any vehicle.
To get there, take the east Green River exit (exit 164).
The geyser is a large flat area with a pipe sticking out. Eruptions of the geyser have created a large amount of yellow flowstone as the water drains down to the Green River a short distance away. It follows common sense, but please do not put anything in the pipe or try and approach the pipe during an eruption.
Eruptions occur at unpredictable intervals, and for unpredictable lengths. If you want to see an eruption, the best plan is to camp near the geyser. Although camping is not great, it is certainly possible. The noise when it erupts is enough to wake all but the deepest sleepers.
I have visited Crystal Geyser many times over the years. Many of my first visits were uneventful, so I finally camped at the geyser to see it erupt for the first time. Since that first camping trip, I have camped there a few times on the way to southern Utah and seen it erupt.
Eruptions have lasted from a few minutes to 45+ minutes, and reached heights of 20 meters. It is an incredible sight to behold. When complete, the water is sucked back into the pipe with a rather ominous sound. A small mud pool near the pipe often bubbles and fills with water right before and during an eruption.