Rattlesnake Spring, Napa County, CA 4/5 (1)


Posted: July 26, 2009

Category: California, North America, United States, View All

5546 Lake County Hwy
Napa County, CA 94503
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Narrow copper spout with two boxes

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5546, Lake County Hwy, Napa County, CA

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Rattlesnake Spring is a Spring in the state of California (county of Napa), located at latitude – longitude coordinates of N 38.67213 and W -122.58971. It is at the highest part of Lake County Highway (Hwy 29) just south of Middletown. It is literally at the NW corner of Napa county where driving north brings one into Lake County and hiking west brings one right into Sonoma county in Robert Louis Stevenson St. Park. It is on the west side of the road. When flowing, there may be a few cars in line to fill up. I have been told that it would flow all year but if occasionally plugged by the county. Many Lake county people prefer it over Harbin. However, I have not personally had it, though am eager to make sure it is quality.

Vital Information

  • Fee: None
  • Access: Public
  • Flow: Intermittent
  • TDS: 82
  • Temp: N/A
  • pH: N/A

Hours Spring is Open:



N 38.67213, W 122.58971

Map Link: Rattlesnake Spring Map

Submitted by: Christian Bates, photo by Terre

  1. kylejamesp81 says:

    Hey Christian thanks so much for posting this! Do you remember we went spring hunting together in Fremont a while back?! Anyways, I found a place where you can purchase 6gallon glass jugs as well as amber jugs in San Leandro at a good price! Peace!

  2. kylejamesp81 says:

    I went to this spring yesterday and the water is amazing! Best tasting water ever!

  3. RawKev says:

    If there is anyone in the Sonoma County that would like to meet up and go to this spring please let me know. I have a van that will work well for transporting water. If you have some extra glass containers then I'd love to use some in exchange for the transport to/from the source.




  4. stevemargraf says:

    My wife Cassie and I have been getting this water for about a year now. The water is fantastic, the best we've ever had. Rumor has it Arrowhead bottles their water here as well as one of their sources.

    Bad news yesterday though when we went up with our 5 – 6 gallon containers, the water is running VERY slow. We didn't even waste our time waiting. Today we're off to try our luck at the spring in Marin county.

  5. madhuriflynn says:

    Was at the spring on Tuesday, met a family there the father said his grandmother used to get her water there. So we are talking maybe 90 years of that water in their blood. The water is amazing.

  6. I agree Madhuri, I just went there last night around midnight of all times, haha I filled up 13gallons so I'm set for a while.. I discovered this spring a few months ago. How long have you been going?

  7. I agree Madhuri, I just went there last night around midnight of all times, haha I filled up 13gallons so I'm set for a while.. I discovered this spring a few months ago. How long have you been going?

  8. ssearson1 says:

    if someone could point me to a vendor in the SF Bay area that sells glass containers that would be great! thanks! Someone mentioned a place in San Leandro? Steve

  9. madhuriflynn says:

    the best black berries I ever tasted grow right there too!!!

  10. dariussohei says:

    okay, we gathered today, thursday march 25th 2010 –
    temperature = 13.4 Celsius (i think, this measure seemed to be similar to the air temp)
    TDS = 82 ppm
    ph (taken with a crappy ph meter) = between 6 and 7
    we talked to a guy who gathers here year round and says it always flows smooth – we filled up a 5 gallon jug within 2-3 minutes.

  11. dariussohei says:

    http://www.oakbarrel.com/ san pablo ave in Berkeley – has everything!

  12. Casey says:

    We went here last week, it was great. Anyone from the bay area want to think about ridesharing? Right now we are renting a car for the day.

    mrcaseywright at gmail dot com

  13. terreal says:

    A few months ago, I met the owner of the property – 86 year-old John Livermore – who was showing the springs to some friends of his. The springs, and the surrounding 8,000 acres, have been in his family since the late 1700s/early 1800s. He has the water tested annually, and told me that it was similar to rain water, with very little to no dissolved solids. The bore hole across Hwy. 29, where Calistoga water was getting water to bottle and sell, was higher in dissolved solids. He hopes that someone else will take over the lease on getting water at the bore hole, as it helps offset the costs/taxes to keep the watershed intact and protect the springs. He is a member of of the Lake County Land Trust (the land is in both Lake & Napa counties). Although I'm not a fan of privatization and selling water, by doing so, he is able and committed to keeping Rattlesnake Springs free and open to the public 24/7. And it is some of the best tasting water I've had! Only Desert Hot Springs rivals it, imho.

  14. Jesse says:

    Made it up here today. She's running cold and fast! Folks told me it slows down a lot during the dry season. This water is pure, sweet and alive! Worth the trip. A+

  15. Katy Balthazar says:

    Hi, I am in Marin and would love to find a spring around here. Can you let me know where it is? katy

  16. SteveMargraf says:

    Hi Katy,

    Rattlesnake Spring on Highway 29 is the best one I know of around here. It's
    quite the drive, but well worth it if you bring a few 5 gallon jugs. We
    bring up 5-6 with each trip from Sonoma.

    Drive Northbound highway 29 from Calistoga towards Middletown. You will wind
    all the way up Mt. St. Helena, you'll come over the top and pass Robert
    Louis Stevenson Park. It's a few miles past that and will be on the left.
    It's pretty hard to miss. There's a formed rock pile with a pipe coming out
    of it. There's usually a few people there getting water also. Enjoy!

    Steve Margraf

  17. water4life says:

    This past weekend I returned to the spring and there were two other people ahead of me. There was plenty of water pressure flow for easily filling the 3 gallon bottles that I brought and the water temperature was cool.
    I have the following specific details about locating the spring. From downtown Calistoga it is 11 miles to the spring. At 3 miles out of Calistoga on Hwy. 29 you start ascending up the winding road. At 8 miles you will a sign for Robert Louis Stevenson State Park with pull out parking on both sides of the road – continue driving past this. The road will now start to descend having reached the summit. There will be a straight-ahead section of road as you approach 3 miles from the last point mentioned or 11 miles over all. Keep a watch on the left hand side for a pull out area. Directly opposite on the right side there is an unmarked side street or driveway where there is a chain-link fenced area that is back away from the road. Make a U-turn to drive into the pull-out area in front of the spring. If there are other vehicles there you should pull up behind them to get in line.
    Side note: My advice is that as you get closer to the destination that you allow cars and trucks to pass you by using the pull-out areas because you don't want them on your bumper as you slow down to watch for the spring. It is common courteousness to the other drivers and will make it easier for you if they are not either blocking your view or tailing to closely behind when you need to slow down or stop to make the U-turn. Caution also for on coming traffic from the opposite direction. People driving up hill were driving fast and passing others so watch out to be sure you have a clear view of on coming traffic before making the U-turn. Pull over to the right if necessary to wait.

  18. gita dean says:

    yay! i'm about to make the trip from marin this weekend:))

  19. Jesse says:

    Made another pilgrimage today: hot first day of summer, but the water was cold, delicious and full of vibrant energy. Running slow-ish but not super slow…SO WORTH the drive from the Bay; I now try to add a bottle to my collection each time I go up…The glass “carboys” (bottles) from brewing supply stores are expensive, but they are thick, will last forever and will leach 0% into your water…if you keep reinforcing the box it comes with packing tape (especially the flaps, seam(s) and bottom, over time the box becomes waterproof! I use rubber stoppers for transport and then switch them out for cork stoppers once I get home…Also drivers can be crazy (fast) on that road so don't be bashful to just pull over and let em go by!

  20. Gregory says:

    I just went here last weekend, and the collection fill area was disturbed and there was debris in it that clogged the spigot (thus causing the overflow to spill out). Does anybody know who maintains this spring?

  21. Feralkevin says:

    Went there 10/11/10. No water coming out. On a busy road, lots of garbage nearby. I thought maybe I went to the wrong place, but it was definitely the place in the pictures. Disappointing, perhaps it is seasonal?

  22. Gregory says:

    @Feralkevin: Was there any water coming out of the overflow pipe adjacent to the cement reservoir above the spigot? When I was there last weekend, I noticed that it was coming out there instead.

    Does this spring exist in the Robert Louis Stevenson State Park? If so, maybe park services could clean it out.

    Shame, this is my favorite spring!

    • Feralkevin says:

      No there was no water coming out from anywhere. My friend just brought me some water from there last night on 02/21 and said it was flowing nicely like in the picture. When I was there in October, I looked over the thing really good, it looked to me as if there never was any water coming out of that thing. Completely totally dry. Anyone know what’s up with this spring?

      • Gerri says:

        Just filled up (3) 5 gallons on sunday evening 02/20/11. It was flowing very fast and tastes great. As a kid my father would get us spring water in half moon bay off a road which I think was devils slide outside of Pacifica California,but I was just a kid. I’m trying to find more springs in Lake County area. Just thought of trying real spring water again because I’m tired of bottled water waste and I remember my Pop always telling us how good spring water was for us. Is this location a bore hole or the natural source does anyone know?

  23. Steve Margraf says:

    We just made another trip up last weekend, the flow was definitely sufficient. My 5 6-Gallon “Better Bottle” jugs were all filled in about 20 minutes. Love the water here, surely worth the trip the Sonoma. Next trip over we’ll try the spring in Angwin.

  24. Adamcrowe1 says:

    went yesterday was told by a local that the water flow has been improved. This was noticeable as a 5 gallon would fill up in a minute. Water is clear and sweet. Got 20 gallons and moved on. seems pretty reliable

  25. Gin_ivy says:

    This place is incredible. The water taste great.

  26. Gin_ivy says:

    We went here for the first time on Sep 29, 2011. Does the county test this water annually? The water taste great and I just want to make sure it is safe to drink. How do we find out? My little boy loves the water too.

    • Gerri says:

      many people drink this water and i am one of them and am healthy as a horse!!  i am so appreciative of this great tasting wonderful elixir……pure spring water the best drink of the earth. i would not worry about this water at all but have it tested if you want to and let us know the results.  people have drank this water for many moons…..i got some today as matter of fact and am blessed to drink it.

  27. springwater rules says:

    Been going there for two years, recently found stringy, root looking debris floating in my water jugs after filling up. Called Napa county, they will verify whether or not it is safe to consume and what it is. Whatever it is, it shouldn’t be in there. I hope it’s a simple fix, maybe it needs a new pipe, maybe some roots have grown into the existing pipe. They told me they would call me back and let me know what they find out. 

  28. springwater rules says:

    Napa county environmental health called back and said it was the responsibility of CALTrans and that they have been capping many springs that are located on the side of the road. That sucks.  Not sure that I want to call them now, they will probably just use it as an excuse to cap it, even thought they just repaved a nice parking spot there.

  29. Had a wonderful drive to this spring and enjoyed filling up all kinds of containers.  The water tastes spectacular.  I look forward to sharing it with my friends and family!

  30. Justin Berry says:

    The water is great. I go there for my supply. It tastes and feels so much better than the RO water you buy at the store. I haven’t had it tested, but my intuition loves it and I feel great drinking it. If your body enjoys it, it knows it works well.

  31. Sharon says:

    All these comments look really old. Anyone been there recently?

  32. BERKELEY friend says:

    Hey all, I’ve been drinking this water from Sept 2013 – March 2014 and I believe I became sick from this water.. it’s subtle but I’m pretty sensitive. I’ve noticed my symptoms were going away after ceasing to drink the water.
    My symptoms were: anemia, hyperactivity, tremors in the night, weird feeling in my head, stiffness, irritability.
    I can’t be certain this caused it but I am sending a water test to a lab now.. I’ll let you know when I get the results back. However the lab wont test pesticides in the runoff which could also be a cause.

  33. Kyle says:

    Stopped by here while staying in the area. The Spring is still flowing @ about 1/2 Gal per 3min. Water is clear and odorless. Taste is clean as well.

  34. Hermit says:

    I just went there last night/this morning, filled up 8 5 gal jugs. Right now, the spring trickles at around 15 min per 5 gal jug. After the rains, hopefully it will increase. Please keep the area clean–NO LITTERING. Put your garbage/cigarette butts in the garbage (usually there is one there), or take it with you. Give a Hoot!–Don’t Pollute!

  35. naomi says:

    is anyone testing this water?

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