Dr. Wilkinson's Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs (Calistoga) - Hot Springs in California


A historic spa inn that is a pioneer in Calistoga, famous for its mud baths.

The owner changed in 2019 and a new history is about to begin.


The facility was renovated starting in 2020, so it may look different from what it looks like today.

Old Faithful Geyser of California

There are two geysers in the United States named Old Faithful Geyser.

The better known one is in Yellowstone National Park and is probably one of the most famous geysers in the world.

The name Faithful comes from the fact that it has been regularly spewing hydrothermal water since ancient times.

Old Faithful Geyser of California 01

Another lesser known one is located in Calistoga, California.

Old Faithful Geyser of California 02

It is small but faithfully spurts out about every 20 minutes for about 5 minutes.

Cattle 01

If you are not a hot spring enthusiast, you may not be happy to pay the $15.00 admission fee (as of this writing) just for this, but check Groupon for any discounts

The doctor who made history

Five minutes drive from the geyser, in the charming downtown Calistoga, I noticed an antiquated railroad car.

Calistoga Depot

Opened in 1868, Calistoga Station is the second oldest existing station building in California.

Although the railroad was abandoned, the station, along with its trains, was developed as a commercial facility.


Across the street, on the other side of the station, was an inconspicuous hotel.

This is actually the birthplace of the mud bath, now one of the main attractions of Napa Valley tourism.


Dr. Wilkinson, who became a chiropractor in 1944, leased what is now the Indian Springs Resort & Spa in Calistoga in 1946.

Information Board

Attracted by the area's hot springs and abundant volcanic ash, he opened this facility in 1952.

Courtyard 1

At the time, it offered only mud baths based on its own recipe, but later added lodgings and a bathhouse.

Guest Rooms

Mud baths have become widely known as a Calistoga specialty and can now be experienced at numerous places in town.


Having experienced the mud baths at Golden Haven, I decided to take a look at the bathhouse here.

ReferenceGolden Haven Hot Springs Spa & Resort (Calistoga) - Hot Springs in California

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Outdoor Pools 2

Behind the building were two outdoor pools.

Outdoor Pools 3

The water temp were 91 and 82 degrees F.

Outdoor Pools 4

It did not feel much like a hot spring.

If you want to warm up, the indoor bath is recommended.

Bathhouse 1

Stepping into the indoor bath after pulling back the steam-fogged glass door, my mood was lifted, even though clothing was required.

Bathhouse 2

The smell of chlorine, which was not so strong, was still noticeable to the nose.

I can't hope for a pool in Calistoga that's free-flowing.
It's just a tourist attraction.
Indoor Bath 3

The water temp was 104 degrees F.

Indoor Bath 2

The inn, operated by the Wilkinson family for over 60 years, was sold to a San Francisco resort company in 2019.

I was told that it underwent a major renovation in 2020 with a more contemporary arrangement.

Indoor Bath 1

I hope that this place will continue to drive Calistoga's history.


Dr. Wilkinson's Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs, Calistoga, California, U.S.

My rating

Type: Lodging, Walk-in

Rule: Clothing required, Private pool

Chemical use: Detected

Water temp: Up to 104 degrees F

Official website

  • Writer

Hot Springer Ken

A hot spring enthusiast based in Japan. Toured over 300 North American hot springs while working in Texas from 2016 to 2022. For updates, visit X or Instagram!

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