Travel Curious

For independent travelers who want to dig deeper

Crystal Geyser

The Crystal geyser was created accidentally in 1935 by the drill site Ruby No 1 in search of oil

Crystal Geyser erupting into the blue sky
Gouveia2, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Under the Crystal Geyser near Green River Utah, is a groundwater reservoir with trapped CO2 gas keeping the water under pressure like a soda can after it is shaken. The geyser was created accidentally in 1935 by the drill site Ruby No 1 in search of oil. But, instead of striking oil, it penetrated the water reservoir at about 50 feet and the trapped CO2 at about 360 feet, which caused the drilling mud to shoot 60 feet into the air. They kept drilling down to about 2600 feet but never struck oil.
But when they were finished Utah had a new cold water geyser that was shooting water 80 feet into the air every 15 minutes, and about every 9 hours was shooting water about 150 feet into the air.
John Wesley Powell passed this spot in 1869 and noted evidence of an ancient natural spring and tufa deposit. He reported “An hour after leaving Green River, we run a long rapid, and stop at its foot to examine some curious rocks, deposited by mineral springs that at one time must have existed here, but are no longer flowing”
A vintage post card of Crystal Geyer erupting
Crystal Geyser is unusual because it is a cold water geyser (powered by carbon dioxide) instead of a geothermal hot water geyser like Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. Eruptions were normally 80-100 feet, however, around 2014 or so tourists had dropped enough rocks down the drill pipe “in order to trigger an eruption” that today there is an obstruction about 20 feet down that has all but eliminated the spectacular eruptions that it was famous for. Today it’s mostly a fizzle or if you are lucky a two to three-foot eruption.
Getting there
From I-70 use exit 164 which is the east exit for the town of Green River. Then head east for 2.4 miles on the New Area 51 Road to the junction with Crystal Geyser Safari Route. Continue for 4 miles until arriving at a parking area.

The road to Crystal Geyser Green River Utah

Parking ( 38.938451, -110.135296 )
A big dirt lot

Crystal Geyser next to the Green River in Utah

The strange built up layers

The colorful flow stone


A Hellgrammite

Beautiful patterns in the flowstones

Explore Nearby...


Rochester Rock Art Panel

A short hike leads to a boulder on an overlook with hundreds of petroglyphs chipped into the desert varnish from the Fremont Culture dating back to at least 1300 AD

Horseshoe Canyon – Hike

Once known as barrier canyon, it contains rock art that gave name to the barrier canyon style of artwork, contained in four galleries including the Great Ghost.

Goblin Valley State Park Utah

Goblin Valley State Park

The park contains thousands of mushroom-shaped (goblins). You can walk amongst the hoo-doos, there are hiking trails and a cave on the back side of the valley called the Goblin’s Lair

Scenic Drives...

Nine Mile Canyon Utah

Nine Mile Canyon – Scenic Drive

A forty-mile long canyon drive with the highest concentration of rock art in the world, with an estimated 10,000 individual artworks from Archaic, Fremont, and Ute Indians

Buckhorn Wash Green River Utah

Buckhorn Wash

Rock art on 100 foot panels. See pictographs painted by the Barrier Canyon culture 2000 years ago and petroglyphs pecked into the rock by Fremont Indians 1000 years ago.

Wedge Overlook

Called “Utah’s Little Grand Canyon”. There are multiple overlooks 1000 feet above the San Rafael River and canyons below you, each one gives you a different vista.

Everything Else...

Crystal Geyser Green River Utah

Crystal Geyser

Crystal Geyser is a CO2 geyser created accidentally in 1935 by an oil drilling rig.

Temple Mountain Pictograph

Significant because it contains some of the largest prehistoric painted figures in Utah. The largest image in its current condition is about 6 feet tall.

Lone Warrior Panel Green River Utah

Lone Warrior panel

The Lone Warrior is the main feature, but there are some petroglyphs, some signatures with dates and some sharpening grooves carved into the base of the cliff to see also.

Head of Sinbad / Locomotive Point

On the south side of a locomotive-shaped rock formation, are amazing Barrier Canyon Style pictographs so pristine they look like they were painted yesterday

Dutchman Arch

Visit a small but picturesque arch you can walk inside of or climb right on top of

Swasey Cabin Green River Utah

Swasey Cabin

Visit Joseph Swasey’s 1921 cabin. The Swasey brothers, Joe, Sid, Rod, and Charley were some of the earliest pioneers of the San Rafael Swell and many local landmarks bear their names.

Buy Framed Prints

Images on this website are available as framed prints to support running the website
Browse Prints For Sale


Featured Posts