Fly Geyser Wonderment
There are many hot springs and geothermal wonders in the Black Rock Desert north of Reno but there is one colorful geyser that has captured the lens of many travelers for its distinctive shades of red and green on three rock pillars that rise out of a dais of mud amidst ponds of warm water and thriving plants.
The “Fly Geyser” as it is called, is located private property, about 20 miles north of Gerlach. The plumes of hot water that continuously spew about five feet into the air can be seen from miles away.
The Fly Geyser isn't exactly a creation of Mother Nature. The story goes that the geyser was created in 1964 after a rancher drilled a well at the site. The well was either left uncapped or was improperly plugged leaving a weak spot for the boiling hot water to erupt from the well hole. The green and red coloring on the mounds is thermophilic algae.
The 1964 test well was not the first time the groundwater had been tapped. In 1916, a shaft was drilled in hopes of striking water to turn part of the desert into farmland. A geothermal pocket of water was struck and a geyser of boiling water turned the region into a desert wetland. This well was also abandoned and has since resulted in the formation of a massive 10 to 12-foot calcium carbonate cone. For unknown reasons, the 1916 geyser no longer spouts.
The land owners of Fly Geyser no longer provide access for public tours.