Ever wonder what it would be like to dive in volcano-like conditions? Surprisingly, you can do just that in Midway, Utah!
In this small, mountain town located in a landlocked state, the Homestead Crater offers divers a unique experience. Melting snow seeped into the land and connected with the hot interior parts of the Earth.
This led the water to move upward and deposit minerals along the way. The crater now looks like a dome-shaped structure. It reaches 68 feet (20m) deep. It is at altitude so altitude adjustments need to be made when diving it.
Owners of the Homestead Crater built a tunnel to create an entrance easily accessible to the public, and placed a pump to pull out water so it wouldn’t continue to fill. Now the place is popular with swimmers and scuba divers.
Divers from all over Utah and neighboring states regularly use the crater to train the next generation of scuba divers. The year-round 92-95º F water is very attractive, especially during the cold, winter days.
As you descend, you begin to notice the darkness. Some light penetrates down from the sun peering through the small opening at the top of the dome. A few underwater lights offer some visibility, as well as divers’ lights.
Descending down to a set of PVC piping at about 20 feet, you can tilt your head back and look up towards the surface and see the top of the crater in a blur through the water. You make your way over to the platform at about 25 feet deep.
It’s a great place to sit for a minute. This is where the resident turtle and alligator sometimes reside. Yes, they’re fake! This is a 95-degree freshwater spring!
You make your way down the center of the crater. There are easy lines to follow and on your way down, you can find another set of PVC piping to swim through and practice your buoyancy skills. Swimming to the wall you notice a wagon wheel hanging mid-water, all decorated with interesting, ever-changing items.
Continuing down into the darkness that is the bottom of the crater, you notice a structure, the remains of a hot tub that was built for the surface only to find the next morning that it had sunk to the bottom!
One can swim around the bottom and notice multiple areas where bubbling hot water is pouring into the crater. These little hot springs are intriguing and gain your attention. The mesmerizing bubbles formed by the active hot springs are something I can watch for a while.
The bottom of the crater is like diving to 85 feet
You check your dive watch and notice you only have a few minutes of no-deco time. At these altitudes, the bottom of the crater is like diving to 85 feet. You make your way back up for an easy safety stop on the lines available.
The walls are amazing to look at as the limestone and mineral deposits have settled in. On one side, there is even a little face in the wall.
After getting all warmed up, you get to exit to the snowy day (if it’s winter) and drive off feeling great, full of good minerals for your body, and muscles relaxed from the hot water.
I can’t imagine actually going diving in a real, active volcano, but the Homestead Crater offers great volcano-like conditions! Check out their website for more details.