NAPA COUNTY, Calif. — At an initial glance, the looks favor a portal to an additional world. Crowds clock mesmerized through the sight of water spiraling down in the middle of a lake. It’s an image that appears to defy logic. This is the ‘The Glory Hole’ in ~ Lake Berryessa.

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Officially, its name is the ‘Morning Glory Spillway,’ as the hole is in reality a distinctive spillway because that the lake and Monticello Dam. When water level rise over 440 feet, water start spilling down the hole and into Putah Creek, hundreds of feet below.

It might not sound like much, but the opportunity to see it in action, color etc thousands of people to the southern finish of Lake Berryessa, close to the border the Napa and also Solano counties.


The pour out is not an each year occurrence. The Glory Hole has actually been used around two dozen times because it was very first built in the 1950s.

The most recent spill began in February 2019 and could last till mid-spring. “It constantly depends ~ above the top watershed, just how much water we’re going to watch come with here” claimed Melissa Vignau, Solano job supervisor. “But it could be a couple of months. In 2017, us had comparable precipitation and we began in February and went through might with spilling. It very likely might be that situation this year, again.”

The Glory Hole functions a lot like the drainpipe in the next of your sink. When water gets as well high the spills right into the drainpipe to protect against overflow.

“It’s all curved, for this reason you have the the very least resistance for the water come go under The Glory Hole,” said Jim Daniels, ar Engineer for Solano watering District. “And it’s an extremely efficient. It’s not really turbulent. The actually quite placid. It’s not that placid down inside The Glory hole itself.”

Once water spills into the hole, the drops around 200 feet right down, into a narrowing pipe. In ~ the bottom, the pipe’s diameter is down to 28 feet. At the point, the pipeline takes a 90-degree turn and runs numerous feet to the other side that Monticello Dam. The water spills out right into Putah Creek, whereby it ultimately flows into the Yolo Bypass.

For many world who view The Glory Hole, the question that arises is why this hole, and not a much more typical spillway? The price is space.

The Monticello Dam sit at the Devil’s gate in a small canyon. If the website was a great spot to build the dam, that did not have actually enough room to build a large channel and also overflow berm. So, engineers determined the best means to get water to the other side the the dam to be to destruction down. Castle tunneled through rock to reach a tunnel the had currently been developed to draw away Putah Creek during dam construction. That initial tunnel now acts together the spillway because that The Glory Hole.



The Glory feet made news roughly the world in march 2019, when video surfaced the a bird going right into the spillway.

WATCH ALSO: "The Glory Hole" in ~ Lake Berryessa | watch the distinctive spillway from the wait | life drone video

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