December 12, 2018 by John Kost

If you are searching for a ‘hot time’ in Lake County, look no further than The Calpine Geothermal Visitor Center and Exhibit Hall. It’s one of the more unique attractions in Northern California’s Lake County.

Exhibit at The Geysers

Exhibit at the Calpine Geothermal Visitors Center.

Located in the quaint hamlet of Middletown, nestled in the Mayacamas Mountains, the Exhibit Hall is full of interactive, exciting, educational, and updated glimpses into the world of geothermal energy. These informational installations were carefully crafted to grab your attention and arouse your curiosity. Community Tours of the area of The Geysers that lay in Lake County are also available.

Historical photo of The Geysers

Photo of the Geysers from the late 1800’s.

The Geysers area is rich in folklore and fact. Millions of years ago, magma nearly reached the surface of the Earth’s crust in this region. It recrystallized the top layer, making it fragile and permitting water to slowly trickle down towards the receding molten mass. This slowly formed an enormous reservoir of hot steam. The fragile rock eventually succumbed to time and pressure and allowed plumes of unharnessed geothermal energy to escape unattended, but not unnoticed.

Native Americans are believed to have used the area for important ceremonies and for the steam’s purported healing powers. When it was rediscovered in the mid-1800’s, the mountainous region was labeled by one old bear trapper as the ‘Gates of Hades.’ In spite of the grim name, The Geysers soon became a veritable hotbed of tourist activity. The land drew famous travelers from far and wide, though it wasn’t long before the tourist trade faded like fog on a sunny day.

In 1960 energy companies began efforts to tame the naturally wild power of  The Geysers. The area has since risen to the forefront of generating sustainable power in California using the naturally occurring geothermic energy. Beginning in 1989 Calpine has been the leading operator and steward in The Geysers region. They realize that it’s an important responsibility to not only provide and sustain this valuable energy, but to be a steward and protector of the lands that it lay beneath. Today, The Geysers account for about 21% of California’s renewable energy.

All of this information barely scratches the surface of The Geysers. If you want to dig deeper into their history, and the efforts to help provide sustainable energy solutions for California’s future, there is no better place to start than the Calpine Geothermal Visitor Center and Exhibit Hall. While you never know what you might find when you start delving into the unknown, this Lake County attraction promises to enhance your knowledge about the fascinating and legendary area known as The Geysers and the immense power of geothermal energy it provides.

Calpine Geothermal Visitor Center
15500 Central Park Road 
Middletown, California 95461
1-866-GEYSERS‬‬ • (707) 987-4270
Hours of Operation: Wednesday – Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.