Lake Owyhee Reservoir

Lake Owyhee Reservoir is a 52 mile long lake in the high desert of Southeast Oregon where hundreds of potential dive sites have never been explored by divers.  The canyon walls and valley make for interesting terrain to check out.  This is an altitude dive due to the elevation of the reservoir.  While diving in fresh water isn’t as interesting as all of the life in the ocean, Lake Owyhee is worthwhile to visit and dive if for no other reason than you may be the very first person to dive on a specific part of the lake.  Very few divers ever make it to this part of Southeast Oregon.

In addition to the boat-accessible 52 mile reservoir, there are four sites that are accessible to car-based shore divers.  They include:

 

Lake Owyhee Reservoir is 52 miles of non-stop freshwater high desert dive sites. Someone with a pontoon boat and plenty of gas plus a compressor could spend weeks diving here and never see everything.
Imagery ©2018 Google, Map data ©2018 Google.

 

Special Site Notes:

This is an altitude dive.  Please plan accordingly.

There is a lot of boat traffic on the lake especially in the summer.  Because divers are so rare at this lake, boaters will not be looking for or expecting divers.  It’s a very good idea to have a dive flag with you and be careful as you surface.

Nearest Town:

Adrian, Oregon

GPS Coordinates:

43.561392, -117.352786

Parking:

There are several parking areas at the boat ramps at Gordon Creek Boat Ramp, McCormack Campground, and Indian Creek Campground.  The Owyhee Lake Road Pull-Outs do not have boat parking but there is car parking.  Be sure to check with the campground and park hosts before parking to verify where they want you to park a car or a boat trailer.

 

Site Orientation:

With 52 miles of reservoir to cover, Lake Owyhee is a massive site that can’t be captured in one simple description.  Our only advice is to be careful of unexpected currents, boat traffic, and stay away from the intake structures on the dam.

Entrances and Exits:

Depending on the water height behind the dam on Lake Owyhee, SCUBA divers may find water very close to the parking areas and lapping at the top of the boat ramps.  On the other hand, during a drought year, the water might be 50 or even 75 feet below the top of the reservoir.  In low water times, it can be quite the scramble to get down to the water.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a fresh water dive site.

Shore/Boat:

While there are a few shore diving sites, the vast bulk of this dive site is boat-only.

Normal Conditions:

The only waves you will see at this dive site come from boat traffic.  There can be some unusual currents in certain areas so do be careful.

Normal Visibility:

Depending on the time of year and how much water is flowing into the reservoir, you might find 30 feet of viz or 3 inches of viz.  SCUBA divers may find algae blooms in the summer and early fall.  In the late winter and early spring, a large amount of cold, clean water flows into the lake and usually provides better visibility.

Normal Temperature:

In the late summer, temperatures can get up into the low 60s.  In exceptionally low water years, it can get even warmer.  In the winter and early spring when cold snow melt flows into the lake, the temperature may be down in the mid 30s.

Best Time of Year:

Spring has the best chance for both good viz and a full lake.

Max Depth:

Unless you bring a shovel, you shouldn’t be able to find any deeper spots than about 115 feet.  As you move up the Lake Owyhee Reservoir, the bottom comes up to meet the surface of the water.

Suggested Special Training:

This dive site requires altitude diver training.

Difficulty of Dive:

We rate this as an intermediate dive site due to needing altitude diver training.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

Depending on where you go diving and how full the reservoir is, you might only have a few feet to walk to the water or several thousand feet down a steep slope.

Surface Swim Length:

No surface swimming is needed.  The submerged canyon walls are quite steep.

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

There are several campgrounds around Lake Owyhee.

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

Please write in the comments below your experiences with this dive site!

 

 

Copper Boat Ramp at Applegate Lake

The Copper Boat Ramp on Applegate Lake is a good place to get wet in the Siskiyou mountains in Southern Oregon. It is one of several boat ramps with good access for SCUBA divers along Applegate Lake.  This being a fresh water reservoir, you will see the standard stuff we expect in Oregon’s man-made lakes such as trout, bass, and other fish; old tree stumps; and the occasional lost fishing rod.  Around the boat ramp you’re more likely to find things dropped by boaters.

Applegate Reservoir
Applegate Lake is an excellent place to do some diving in Southern Oregon.

 

 

Nearest Town:

The little town of Ruch is the first place of any size that you will find heading downriver from the lake.  Medford and Grants Pass are just a little further away.

GPS Coordinates:

42.028558, -123.148729

Special Directions to Site:

Once you pass the dam on Upper Applegate Road, keep heading south until you see signs for the Copper Boat Ramp.

Parking:

There is parking near the boat ramp.  Don’t take up spaces for trailers unless you have a trailer.  When we visited last, there was no fee to park but that could change in the future.

applegate lake copper boat ramp
Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google.
The Copper Boat Ramp on Applegate Lake in the Siskiyous is a good place to get wet in Southern Oregon.

Site Orientation:

The dive site is the flooded canyon of the Applegate River.  The land you want to come back to is to the west.  Deeper water is to the east.  If you start going uphill headed east, you’ve passed the deepest part of the dive site and are heading toward the opposite bank.

Entrances and Exits:

There are a lot of easy entrances/exits here depending on what you want to do.  If you want the easiest entry, just walk on in near the car parking area or over the boat ramp.

Salt/Fresh:

Copper Boat Ramp is a fresh water dive.

Shore/Boat:

This is a shore dive.

Normal Conditions:

In the late summer or early fall the water can get a little stagnant if there hasn’t been rain for a long time and if it was a bad snow year the previous winter.  In the winter, the lake can be drawn very low prepping for spring rains.

Normal Visibility:

Normally you’ll get 10-15 feet of viz here although the bottom can be stirred up so be sure to steer clear of it.

Normal Temperature:

In the early spring when snow melt is pumping into the reservoir, you might find water in the 37F range.  Late in the summer, the Copper Boat Ramp can get a thermocline with temperatures in the upper 60s near the surface and in the low 50s at depth.

Best Time of Year:

This site is good during the summer and sometimes in the fall, depending on lake water levels.

Max Depth:

When the reservoir is full, you can hit around 80-90 feet at this site in the deeper section beyond where we drew the site boundary.

Suggested Special Training:

This is an altitude dive.  You should have altitude diver training to dive this lake.  Open water divers with altitude training can successfully dive this site.

Difficulty of Dive:

We believe this site is suitable for freshly certified open water divers with altitude specialty training.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

Depending on where you park and lake levels, you might walk 50 feet or 500 feet to your entrance/exit.

Surface Swim Length:

No surface swim is needed.

Special Site Notes:

There is a lot of boat traffic at the Copper Boat Ramp and in Applegate Lake during boating season (summer and fall).  Be sure to fly a dive flag.  We have one we use when we go diving in Oregon.

Closest Local Dive Shops to Get Air Fills and SCUBA Gear:

There are SCUBA shops in Grants Pass and Medford as well as over in Klamath Falls.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

Jacksonville has some good food.  We haven’t tried any of the closer options so please let us know if you have a favorite place to eat.

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

There is a lot of primitive camping and there are a few campgrounds in the area.  We haven’t found a diver-friendly hotel between Ashland and Grants Pass yet.  Please let us know if you know of one that will welcome SCUBA divers and their wet gear.

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

Please write in the comments below your experiences with this dive site!

Antelope Reservoir

If you’re looking for a remote dive site on the edge of the Oregon high desert, then Antelope Reservoir might be exactly what you’re looking for.  This dive site won’t win any awards for having interesting stuff to see underwater or for being deep (at its max depth, the reservoir is 25 feet deep!).  The water is not very clear and is stagnant in the summer.  There are a few trout in the lake but otherwise there isn’t much going on here.

So why would you bother going all the way out to the Jordan Valley by Jean Baptiste Charbonneau’s grave to do some SCUBA diving?  Good question!  The only real draw for this site is that it’s a little bit of water in a great big desert where you can do a little SCUBA diving to check it off the list of places to go diving in Oregon.

antelope reservoir
Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google.
Antelope Reservoir is way out in the Jordan Valley on the eastern fringe of Oregon. You can’t get much farther away from the ocean in the Beaver State. The dive site is pretty boring but that’s not really the point of diving here. The reason you would haul all your gear out here is because this dive site is in the middle of the desert. Why not check out a dive site off the beaten path?

 

Nearest Town:

GPS Coordinates:

42.909122, -117.236012

Special Directions to Site:

From the Ion Highway, look for signs for Antelope Reservoir.  The road is called Antelope Reservoir Road although sometimes the road sign is missing.  Head up the hill until you see the lake.  The parking area is just north of the dam.

Parking:

The last time we were here, the parking was free.  There are four free campsites here, too.

 

Site Orientation:

Let’s get this out of the way: this is a lousy dive site.  We wouldn’t bother coming out here to do a dive except for the novelty of diving in the middle of the Oregon high desert.  The reservoir is shallow and often has less than ideal water conditions.  The drive is very long from any major population centers.  There really isn’t anything to see under the lake.

If you go to dive this site, we suggest going out and doing some compass skills (trench patterns, box patterns, etc.) to give you something to do.  Who knows?  You might find an abandoned sunken car or a lost fishing rod.

The main thing to watch out for here is getting too close to the water intake structure on the dam.  You don’t want to get sucked through and end up downstream in small pieces.

Entrances and Exits:

Just walk down the boat ramp until you get to the water.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a fresh water dive.

Shore/Boat:

This is a shore dive although you could bring a boat and do a little boat diving here, too.

Normal Conditions:

The lake can get a few waves from the wind occasionally.  In the winter, the lake ices over sometimes.  In the summer, the water gets very low as you get closer to the fall.

Normal Visibility:

You’ll be lucky to get 10 feet of viz here.  The bottom can be stirred up so stay clear of it.

Normal Temperature:

During spring snow melt, the water temperature will be near freezing.  At the end of a long hot summer, water temps can be up in the 60s although usually will be in the 50s.

Best Time of Year:

Late spring or early summer is the best time of year to dive this site.  Later in the summer and fall, the water level will be very low and the water will get nasty from being stagnant all summer.  In the winter, this is usually a bitterly cold place to be.

Max Depth:

If the reservoir is completely full and you really search for it, you will be able to hit 25 feet.  Expect more in the neighborhood of 15 feet.

Suggested Special Training:

This is an altitude dive.  The lake is at about 4300 feet.  Plan accordingly.

Difficulty of Dive:

We rate this as an intermediate dive because of needing altitude training to dive this site.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

Depending on the water level, you might need to walk several hundred feet.

Surface Swim Length:

You’ll want to kick away from shore at least 200 feet to get a little depth in the water column.

Special Site Notes:

Avoid the water intake structure on the dam.  Don’t become fish food!

There are other potential places to explore on Antelope Reservoir although we don’t know why you would spend the time and resources to do so.  Take a quick dip at the boat ramp and check this site off your list of Southeast Oregon SCUBA diving sites.

Closest Local Dive Shops to Get Air Fills and SCUBA Gear:

The closest place for any sort of services is in Boise, Idaho a few hours away.  This is a very remote site.  The last time we were here, there was very patchy cellphone service.  You need to be fully self-sufficient.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

There might still be a restaurant in Jordan Valley, Oregon.  Otherwise you have several hours to go to find any sort of services or food.

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

There are a couple free campsites right at the boat ramp.  Otherwise there is a LOT of BLM land out in Southeast Oregon where you can camp for free.  We don’t know of any hotels nearby.

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

Please write in the comments below your experiences with this dive site!

Lower Deschutes Boat Ramp at Lake Billy Chinook

The lower Deschutes boat ramp on Lake Billy Chinook is a good place to go diving in Central Oregon.  You can go very deep here if you want or you can stay more shallow to check out the underwater cliff faces, the underwater rock formations, and search for things lost by boaters.

Cove Palisades SP Oregon 2002.03.31
The lower Deschutes boat ramp at Cove Palisades State Park is on the west side of the “Island” in the middle of this picture. Ipoellet at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Site Highlights:

The lower Deschutes boat ramp is an exciting place to dive because of the underwater cliffs and rock formations.  Much like some of the other sites on Lake Billy Chinook, this site has a variety of terrain from relatively shallow sandy areas near the roped-off swimming spots to sheer vertical underwater cliffs.  You can often find things that fell off boats around the boat ramp and other random odds and ends that went overboard in the general dive site area.

Nearest Town:

There are a few small towns nearby including Culver, Metolius, and Madras.  To the south, Bend and Redmond have some dive shops.

GPS Coordinates:

44.547443, -121.279279

Special Directions to Site:

There are signs on US 97 for Cove Palisades State Park.  Follow them through a series of roads until you descend down into the canyon.  Look for signs for the lower Deschutes boat ramp once you’ve crossed the bridge over the Crooked River finger of the lake.

Parking:

There is usually ample parking although on busy summer weekends, it can be completely full.  The last time we were here, we had to pay a day use fee to park.  Your Oregon State Parks Pass might work here but double-check when you go to park to see what you need to do.  You can drop your gear off down by the boat ramp after you have your equipment setup and then go park in the car parking area.  If it’s a quiet day with not many boat trailers, you can usually get away with leaving your car in the boat trailer parking.

 

Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google.
The lower Deschutes boat ramp is a good place to dive in Lake Billy Chinook. The underwater terrain is varied and you can go very deep if you want or you can stay shallower in a few areas.

Site Orientation:

This site runs more or less north-south.  There is a little bay in the middle of the site that heads east and is where the boat ramp is located.  The little bay and the area around the roped off swimming spot are the shallowest and gentlest places to dive.  If you go further west, north, or south, things get deep very quickly and also very steep.  There are some vertical underwater cliffs as well.  If you head west and don’t watch your gauges, you can go beyond recreational scuba depth limits so pay attention!

Entrances and Exits:

If there isn’t much boat traffic, you can hop in at the boat ramp.  Otherwise, the swimming beach is an easy entrance with a nice and sandy spot to walk in.  To the west and south, there are a couple swim ladders you can climb in on from the wall where boats sometimes tie up.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a fresh water dive.

Shore/Boat:

We have done this as a shore dive but you can also do boat diving here.  If you’re spending a long weekend on Lake Billy Chinook with your pontoon boat, this is a good dive site to check out your gear and practice your boat entrances and exits before motoring out into other parts of the lake.

Normal Conditions:

Usually there isn’t much current unless you get deep enough and usually there aren’t many naturally occurring waves.  There can be waves and wake from boats passing by though.  This lake is very popular with many different types of boaters so it’s important to fly a dive flag, even if you’re diving from a boat.

Normal Visibility:

Except in the swimming area and right around the boat ramp, visibility is usually pretty good with viz often being 40-60 feet or better.  Where the water gets stirred up, it can be quite a bit lower.  The bottom doesn’t have much to stir up.

Normal Temperature:

The deeper you go, the colder it usually gets at the lower Deschutes boat ramp.  On the surface in late summer, we’ve seen in the 70s at this SCUBA site while at depth it can still be in the low 40s.

Best Time of Year:

This site is diveable any time of the year although we prefer summer and fall.

Max Depth:

We’ve gone down as far as 80 feet here but you can exceed the maximum recreational SCUBA depth limits if you aren’t careful.

Suggested Special Training:

This is an altitude diving site.  We suggest having at least advanced open water training because of the potential to go very deep very quickly.

Difficulty of Dive:

We rate this as an intermediate dive because of the depth.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

Depending on how close you can get your car, you may have to walk only a few feet or a couple thousand feet.

Surface Swim Length:

No surface swim is necessary at the lower Deschutes boat ramp.

Special Site Notes:

This site has a lot of boat traffic during high season (summer and fall).  Fly a dive flag!

Closest Local Dive Shops to Get Air Fills and SCUBA Gear:

There are a few SCUBA shops in Bend that offer full service.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

We haven’t tried any of the restaurants right by the lake so please let us know if you have a favorite.

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

There are several state and federal-run campsites in the area as well as a private resort with cabins for rent.

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

Please write in the comments below your experiences with this dive site!

Ice Cap Creek at Carmen Reservoir

The Ice Cap Creek Day Use Area at Carmen Reservoir is a fun place to play around in a submerged creek bed to practice your drift diving skills.  Since this is an altitude dive, it’s a good place to practice using the altitude dive tables.  The water is usually quite cold but not as cold (usually) as Clear Lake can be at the bottom of Clear Lake’s underwater springs.

old metal pot
We found an old metal pot the last time we were at this dive site.

 

Site Highlights:

There are a couple reasons that SCUBA folks like diving the Ice Cap Creek Day Use Area.  The site has very easy access to get into and out of the water.  You can practice drift diving in the submerged riverbed.  The site is mostly easy to dive making it accessible to even freshly certified open water divers, assuming you have proper altitude diver training.  In short: this is a good site to play around at and practice your skills.  You might also discover some old pots and pans, logging equipment, and other odds and ends tossed into the reservoir.

Nearest Town:

This dive site is pretty remote.  There are very limited services at the resort at Clear Lake.  Otherwise slightly bigger towns within an hour drive are Detroit, Rainbow, and Sisters.  Bigger towns with services are Eugene, Salem, and Bend although they are all more than an hour away.

GPS Coordinates:

44.340039, -122.002339

Special Directions to Site:

The forest road NF-750 gives access to the Ice Cap Creek Day Use Area.  The road is a mile and a half or so south (down river) from the bottom of Clear Lake.  Watch carefully for the signs because it is easy to miss the turn.

Parking:

The last time we were here, there was ample free parking and several locations.  Double check when you arrive to make sure that the parking is still free.  It’s possible the National Forest might turn this into a fee pay site.

 

carmen reservoir ice cap creek
Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google.
The Ice Cap Creek Day Use Area at Carmen Reservoir is a good place to do some high altitude diving in Oregon. The river coming into the reservoir can be fun to explore.

Site Orientation:

The site is roughly oriented to the cardinal directions (north-south-east-west).  The Ice Cap Creek Day Use Area is at the north end of the site and with the McKenzie River’s sunken channel coming in at the top end of the dive site.  The river channel runs from the northeast to the southwest where it terminates at the dam’s spillway.  Don’t get too close to the spillway structure!  You don’t want to end up downriver of the dam or getting sucked into the water intake.  You can swim up the river channel under the bridge quite a ways.  This makes for a good spot to practice drift diving.

On the east side of the site, we usually use the finger-like jetty structure on the dam to the south and the parking area to the north as our site boundary.  Further to the east is the other dive site at Carmen Reservoir.

On the northwest side of the dive site, the water gets very shallow.  We don’t think there’s much reason to explore that area.

Entrances and Exits:

The two easiest entrances/exits are at the parking areas.  There is a bit of a scramble step or two to get down to the water but it isn’t too bad.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a fresh water dive.

Shore/Boat:

This is a shore dive.

Normal Conditions:

Normally the water is cold and clear.  There is always a current around the sunken river channel.  Boats can occasionally be in the lake so it’s a good idea to fly a dive flag.  Note that this is an altitude dive.

Normal Visibility:

Usually visibility is quite good since the majority of the water is coming almost directly out of Clear Lake.  Expect 20-40 feet of viz depending on how much surface runoff is coming into the lake.  Close to the Ice Cap Creek Day Use Area you can run into silt on the bottom that can be stirred up but as long as you’re near the sunken river channel, any silt that is stirred up clears quickly.

Normal Temperature:

We’ve seen water temperatures in the river channel as cold as 38F and temps away from the channel near the surface as high as 60F depending on the time of the year.

Best Time of Year:

This site is best in the summer and fall.  Once the snow melts enough for the road to open in the spring, the water is usually very cold.  In the winter, you can’t get to the lake because of the snow.

Max Depth:

We once found 60 feet near the dam in the old river channel but most of the site is more in the 20-40 foot range.

Suggested Special Training:

This is an altitude site where you should have altitude diver training.  Open water divers can successfully dive this site as long as you stay away from the dam intake structure.  This is a great place to practice your dive skills and do training.

Difficulty of Dive:

We think this is a pretty easy dive for the most part so we rate it as a beginner skill level site.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

Unless there are a lot of people parked at the parking areas, you shouldn’t have to walk more than 50 feet.

Surface Swim Length:

No surface swim is needed.

Special Site Notes:

Because of how cold the water here can be, you should make sure your equipment is rated for cold water.  We have had a regulator free flow up at Clear Lake just up the river.  Be sure to remember your training in case you have that situation happen to you.

The dam intake structure can suck you in, chew you up, kill you very dead, and leave a hefty bill for your next of kin to recover your sliced and diced body.  Steer clear of it!

Closest Local Dive Shops to Get Air Fills and SCUBA Gear:

The closest dive shops are located in Bend, Salem, and Eugene.  Each is quite a ways away (1.5+ hours) so you need to be self-sufficient at the Ice Cap Creek Day Use Area.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

The closest food is up at Clear Lake’s resort where very limited food service is available.  Otherwise, in Detroit, Camp Sherman, and Rainbow (all towns within an hour of the site) you can find a few restaurants.

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

If you want to sleep in a cabin, the resort at Clear Lake does rent cabins to divers.  Be sure to ask when you make your reservation about how you can store your gear.  Otherwise, there are plenty of National Forest campgrounds and lots of primitive camping in the forest.

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

Please write in the comments below your experiences with this dive site!

East Boat Ramp at Carmen Reservoir

The east boat ramp at Carmen Reservoir is a god place to go practice your navigation skills.  Due to the altitude and it being cold fresh water, there isn’t much in the way of life in the lake aside from some algae and a few fish but the wide space by the boat ramp is a good place to hone skills and practice altitude diving.  The scenery is outstanding and well worth the trip on its own.

Panorama of Carmen Reservoir in Oregon 2009
The east boat ramp at Carmen Reservoir is a picturesque lake in the mountains outside of Eugene.

 

 

 

Site Highlights:

We have used this site as a training site to practice navigation skills.  Whether you’re practicing compass headings, kick cycle counts, trench search patterns, or more advanced navigation, this site is a good place to hone your skill set before going somewhere less forgiving.  The dam is a good representation of Oregon coast jetties and can be used for practice entering and exiting over difficult jetty rocks.  Or if you don’t want to work too hard, you can walk right on on the boat ramp and have a wonderful low stress dive.

Nearest Town:

Bend, Eugene, and Salem are all about equally far away.  There are a few small hamlets in between with limited services.

GPS Coordinates:

44.340262, -121.999272

Special Directions to Site:

Look for National Forest Road 750 (to the west) as you’re going along the Mc Kenzie River Highway.  There are signs for the lake, the day use area further to the west, and the boat ramp.

Parking:

The last time we were here, parking was free and plentiful.  As always, verify that the situation hasn’t changed when you go dive the east boat ramp at Carmen Reservoir.

 

ice cap creek east boat ramp
Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google.
The Ice Cap Creek east boat ramp is a good place to practice navigation skills.

Site Orientation:

This site is bounded by the dam to the south (it runs east-west), the road and shore to the north, the shore to the east, and a good marker for the western extent of the site is a protrusion of the dam that looks an awful like some of the fingers on the south jetty in Newport.  You don’t want to go further west on the dam past the protrusion of rocks because you will get close to the water exit which is something you don’t want to get sucked into. You would have a very bad day indeed if you went through the business end of the dam.

Entrances and Exits:

The boat ramp itself makes for a very easy entrance.  There is another easy entrance a little to the east and south along the shore that is a simple step down into the water.  Along the road on the north end of the site, you can scramble in/out on the bank if you really have to but there isn’t much reason to do that as long as your navigation skills are up to snuff.  At the far northwestern corner of the site, you can climb out into a parking area that is part of the Ice Cap Creek Day Use Area although you will have a bit of a walk back to your car.  If you want to practice entering and exiting over a jetty structure, the dam on the south side of the dive site gives you that practice.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a fresh water dive.

Shore/Boat:

This is a shore dive.

Normal Conditions:

Conditions during the summer and fall are usually pretty good here.  The constant feed of cold fresh water keeps visibility fairly decent.  Water levels can change rapidly depending on what the dam operator is doing.  There can be boats in this area so it’s a good idea to fly a dive flag.

Normal Visibility:

We usually have between 15 and 30 feet of viz depending on the time of year and how much surface water runoff there is coming into the lake.  The bottom can be stirred up so it’s a good idea to maintain neutral buoyancy.

Normal Temperature:

The water coming in from Ice Cap Spring is very cold.  Near the creek, it can easily be 37F.  In the summers, there can be a thermocline at the surface with a warm layer of water followed by very cold water at depth.

Best Time of Year:

This site is best done in the summer and fall.  In the winter and spring, there is usually too much snow on the ground to access the lake.

Max Depth:

We found 55 feet here once without trying too hard.  We suspect you can hit around 70 feet out in the middle.

Suggested Special Training:

This is an altitude dive.  An open water diver with altitude diver training can dive this site without a problem.

Difficulty of Dive:

Aside from the altitude dive aspect of this site, the east boat ramp at Carmen Reservoir is an easy place to dive.  We have assisted with several training dives here in the past and enjoy this site for its easy access, its relatively benign conditions, and the chance to practice navigation.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

Depending on how close you can park, you might only need to walk 20 feet to be in the water.

Surface Swim Length:

No surface swim is needed at the east boat ramp at Carmen Reservoir unless you’re bad at navigation and don’t monitor your air supply.

Special Site Notes:

Remember that this is an altitude dive.  Boats can be at this site so it’s a good idea to fly a dive flag.  We usually bring a SCUBA light with us when we dive the east boat ramp at Carmen Reservoir so we can look in all of the little crannies and crevices underwater to search for crayfish and trout.

Closest Local Dive Shops to Get Air Fills and SCUBA Gear:

There aren’t any shops nearby.  You’ll have to go to Eugene, Salem, or Bend to find a dive shop.  You need to be self-sufficient diving this site.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

There is limited food service at Clear Lake but otherwise there aren’t any restaurants up here.

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

The resort at Clear Lake has some cabins for rent that some of our SCUBA buddies have stayed at before.  Otherwise there is plentiful camping in the national forest both in campgrounds and at primitive sites.

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

Please write in the comments below your experiences with this dive site!

Jawbone Flats – Opal Pool

Diving the Opal Pool at Jawbone Flats is a unique experience for Oregon SCUBA divers.  Opal Creek, a tributary of the Little North Fork of the Santiam River, is a gorgeous cascade of water and sparkling lush forest.   The azure waters in the Opal Pool below Opal Pool Falls are inviting in the late summer or early fall.  We have seen many people enjoying a swim here although the water can be chilly.

opal pool
The Opal Pool is a short walk up from Jawbone Flats where you can rent cabins.

Site Highlights:

The main thing we like about this SCUBA dive site is the unique experience of going diving in a gorgeous pool tucked back into the forest far away from the nearest road.  It is a unique and peaceful place to put on dive gear and take a dip.

Underwater the basalt river rocks are mostly smooth and round.  The walls of the pool are all basalt cliffs that add to the drama and beauty of this site.  Someone with a very good camera and some time could make some awesome photos here combining the underwater and the above water beauty of the opal pool at Jawbone Flats.

Nearest Town:

The nearest big city is Salem, Oregon.  The tiny hamlet of Elkhorn is the first thing you will encounter driving down from the Opal Creek Trailhead.  The bigger towns of Mehama and Lyons are a ways further down the road.

GPS Coordinates:

44.844199, -122.206503

Special Directions to Site:

It takes some time to get to Jawbone Flats and the Opal Pool.  First you need to drive to the Opal Creek Trailhead at the end of forest road NF-2209 out of Elkhorn, Oregon.  Then you need to hike up to Jawbone Flats where the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center is located.  Then you take the trail toward Cedar Flats.   Opal pool is below the bridge not far out of Jawbone Flats.

The whole hike round trip is about seven miles.  Carrying 100lbs of SCUBA gear on your back that distance is infeasible.  There are a couple options though.  You can try talking with the center at Jawbone Flats about having them use their shuttle to bring your gear up to the center and then walk the gear from there.  You can convince a bunch of friends to help you carry in and out your SCUBA gear.  You can also try using a wheeled cart although we aren’t sure if forest regulations allow that.  We personally think staying at Jawbone Flats at the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center overnight and coordinating with the center to bring your gear in and back out is the best option.

Parking:

You pay to park at the Opal Creek Trailhead.  On popular weekends, the trailhead can be completely full of cars so plan ahead.

opal creek overview
Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google.
The round trip hike to Opal Pool is a little over seven miles but we think the trip is well worth it for the unique diving experience.
opal creek close up
Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google.
Once you have hiked up to Jawbone Flats and the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center, take the trail toward Cedar Flats. Opal Pool isn’t too far away.

Site Orientation:

Opal Pool is down in the creek bed.  The site is so small and the water is so clear that you can’t really get lost here.  Be mindful of other users of the pool.

Entrances and Exits:

It’s a bit of a scramble down to the dive site from the trail but it is manageable.  The rocks can be a bit slippery depending on conditions so watch your footing.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a fresh water dive.

Shore/Boat:

This is a shore dive.

Normal Conditions:

During the summer and fall, the water is usually fairly calm although we have seen quite a few people swimming here on hot weekends.  In the spring during the snow melt, this creek can turn into a raging torrent.  During flood conditions, you will see why it is a bad idea to try diving the site!

Normal Visibility:

Visibility at Opal Pool is usually around 20-30 feet.  You can see the bottom of the deepest part of the pool when you’re floating on the surface.

Normal Temperature:

Water temperature is influenced by recent storms, snow melt, and upstream spring volume.  We have seen it between 40F and 60F depending on conditions although the deepest part of the pool is usually colder.

Best Time of Year:

The best time of the year for making the trek to Jawbone Flats to dive Opal Creek is late summer or early fall.  The water is warmer, the flow is lower, the days are warm, and it is less likely to be rainy and misty.

Max Depth:

We found 30 feet of water at one place in the pool.

Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center
Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center at Jawbone Flats has cabins for rent and very limited food service. Both must be reserved weeks or months in advance.

Suggested Special Training:

This is an altitude dive and you should have the training necessary for altitude diving.  Open water divers can successfully dive this site although just getting to the site is challenging enough that we suggest open water divers go check out other more easily accessible sites.  Down by Eugene there are some good dives that have similar pools to Opal Pool.

Difficulty of Dive:

We rate this as an intermediate dive because of the trek to get to the site and the bit of scramble necessary to get to the water.  Also this is an altitude dive so diving around Jawbone Flats requires a little extra training.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

It’s about 3.5 miles from the parking lot at the trailhead all the way to the dive site.  Yes, that’s a brutal hike wearing 100lbs of dive gear.  Yes, it’s a bad idea to try to do it completely geared up unless you like heat stroke.

Surface Swim Length:

No surface swims are needed at Opal Pool.

Special Site Notes:

We highly recommend contacting the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center at Jawbone Flats several weeks or even several months in advance of your visit.  While we have gone diving at this site before and know others who have done it, the staff at Jawbone Flats has changed since then.  We view diving Opal Pool as a privilege rather than a right for SCUBA divers.  Please be polite with the staff and gracious to your hosts.

We suggest renting a cabin at the Center and asking the staff to transport your gear from your car to your cabin.  They did it for us a number of years ago.

It would be worthwhile to investigate what sorts of tasty beverages or recreational activities the staff at the Center enjoy and bringing some things up to share with them.  The staff stays in at Jawbone Flats for days or weeks at a time and, at least the last time we were there, they enjoyed us bringing in things that they can’t usually get at Jawbone Flats.

Closest Local Dive Shops to Get Air Fills and SCUBA Gear:

The closest dive shop is in Salem where air fills, gear service, and rental gear is available.  However, this dive site is inaccessible enough that you need to bring everything with you and be fully self sufficient.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

The Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center does have very limited (but very good!) meal service.  You MUST reserve your meals at least two weeks in advance (double check this because it might change!) so that they have enough food for you.  There is usually NOT walk-up food service.  If you aren’t having a meal or two at the Center, you need to bring in all of your own food.

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

The Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center has cabins for rent.  However, they are extremely popular and often booked out months in advance.

You can camp in the forest but you must follow local wilderness regulations.  This area gets a lot of use so check with the district ranger office well in advance of your trip to get the most up-to-date information on where you can camp.  In addition to  being against forest regulations to camp wherever you want, it is also very bad for the forest if you camp in places that you shouldn’t.  The Opal Creek Wilderness is a special place in Oregon that as SCUBA divers we should work to protect so that we can continue enjoying Jawbone Flats and the Opal Pool for many years to come.

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

Please write in the comments below your experiences with this dive site!

Lake Billy Chinook – The Cove Palisades State Park – Upper Deschutes Boat Launch

The Upper Deschutes Boat Launch at Lake Billy Chinook is a fun place to go diving in central Oregon.  There are some interesting underwater rock formations along the submerged cliff walls but the site also has good areas for shallower diving depending on what you’re looking for in a SCUBA adventure.

029_view_odfw
Lake BIlly Chinook. Photo by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Copyright 2009.

Site Highlights:

We like this site for the interesting submerged cliffs and underwater rock formations.  There are also some good areas to practice SCUBA skills near the shore.  Diving in Lake Billy Chinook is not something most people from the west side of the Cascades would usually but it is worth the drive to Central Oregon to test the waters.

Nearest Town:

The nearest large town is Bend with Redmond in between.  Culver and Metolius are both closer although they are smaller towns.

GPS Coordinates:

44.532684, -121.291513

Special Directions to Site:

Follow the signs to The Cove Palisades State Park and then look for the turn-off for the Upper Descutes Boat Launch and Day Use Area.

Parking:

There is ample parking at this site.  The last time we were here, we did need to pay for parking although this may change based on the time of year.  There are two parking areas to choose from.  One is designated for boat trailer parking and the other is for car parking.  The Upper Deschutes Boat Launch is right by the trailer parking while the day use area is by the car parking.

deschutes upper boat launch
Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google.
The Deschutes upper boat launch and day use area is a big dive site that could be explored across multiple dives.

 

Site Orientation:

The Deschutes Upper Boat Launch and day use area could be considered two sites.  Certainly there is enough underwater ground to cover that the site merits at least two dives.  On the southwest side of the dive site where the boat launch is located, the submerged cliffs fall away rapidly from the bank.  At the northeastern part of this dive site, SCUBA divers will find a more gently sloping bottom around the roped off swimming area.

We found this site to be the most fun by starting at the southwest entrance and swimming along the submerged canyon walls until we came out at the northeast exit.  Swimming the opposite way you may encounter a very gentle current from the Deschutes River.

Entrances and Exits:

The three easiest places to enter and exit are at the boat ramp (one entrance/exit) and by the day use swimming area (two entrances/exits).  Around the boat ramp, be sure to watch for boat traffic and give way to other users of the upper Deschutes boat launch area.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a fresh water dive.

Shore/Boat:

This is a shore dive although we have SCUBA buddies who have done this as a boat dive.

Normal Conditions:

There can be some waves from boat wakes but otherwise conditions are usually pretty mild at the upper Deschutes boat launch.  Water level in the lake can vary throughout the year so be prepared for low or high water.  Depending on when you go, the amount of boat traffic at the boat launch might be too great for you to safely enter or exit the water there.

Normal Visibility:

Visibility is usually in the 20-30 foot range except around the swimming area where it can be much less when swimmers stir up the bottom.

Normal Temperature:

Temperature varies throughout the year based on snow melt feeding into the reservoir and how much energy the sun has pumped into the lake.  We have found a surface thermocline at this site of 60F and deeper water temperatures of 40F.

Best Time of Year:

We like diving this site in the early fall after most of the weekend boat traffic has left the lake and before snow starts falling in the Cascades.  However, the site is accessible most of the year (although sometimes parking is not).

Max Depth:

We never went past 75 feet here but you can go much deeper if you head out toward the old Deschutes river bed at the bottom of the flooded canyon.  Watch your depth gauge and remember that this is an altitude dive.

Suggested Special Training:

Open water divers with experience diving walls can do this site.  However, this is an altitude dive so you should have altitude diver training.

Difficulty of Dive:

We rate this as an intermediate dive for a few different reasons.  First, the boat traffic in the area makes it more challenging to stay safe.  Second, the underwater rock walls that you will be diving along can be tricky to dive if you haven’t had that experience before because you can easily go too deep or accidentally surface.  Third, this is an altitude dive and requires altitude diver training.  Fourth, the walks to entrances and exits can potentially be very long.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

Depending on the time of year and how much boat traffic there is at the upper Deschutes boat launch, you may be walking from a long way away.  Expect at least a 200 foot walk from the closest parking to the boat ramp and plan for possibly 800 feet of walking.  One approach is to assemble your gear in one of the parking areas, drive it as close as possible to the entrance you want to use, drop your gear off, go park, walk back, don your gear, and enter the water.  Upon surfacing, doff your gear where you can pull up a car, go walk to your car and bring it to your gear, load up your gear, and take it somewhere else to break down.

The lengthy walks convince some people to dive this site using a boat.

Surface Swim Length:

No surface swim is needed here.

Special Site Notes:

Be mindful of boaters using the boat ramp.  We always give boaters priority when we use a boat ramp as an entrance or exit.  Several times at different boat ramps across Oregon, we have made friends by helping boaters recover lost equipment that took a swim after falling overboard at the ramp.

Because of all of the boat traffic in this area, it is a very good idea to have a dive flag and use it.  We have a dive flag that we highly recommend on our Gear We Use page.

Remember that this is an altitude diving site and you should have training to dive at altitude.

It is easy to go too deep at this site.  Watch your depth gauges carefully.

[Underwater Map of Dive Site Coming Soon!]

Closest Local Dive Shops to Get Air Fills and SCUBA Gear:

There is a dive shop in Bend that does air fills, services gear, and has gear for sale.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

We haven’t tried any of the restaurants in the area although we know there are some places to eat in the nearby towns.  Please let us know if you have a favorite place to get food!

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

There are some state and federal campgrounds in the area, and over on the Crooked River branch of Lake Billy Chinook there is a resort with cabins for rent.  Please let us know if you have a favorite place to camp around the upper Deschutes boat launch that is SCUBA friendly!

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

Please write in the comments below your experiences with this dive site!

Smith Reservoir – Dam Boat Ramp

The dam boat ramp at Smith Reservoir is an easy entrance and gives quick access to the deep cold waters of Smith Reservoir.  However, the water intake structure for the Eugene Water and Electric Board is nearby and divers should use caution to not go near it.  The water is deep and cold enough here to make a regulator free flow as well due to ice buildup.

Underwater at Smith Reservoir.
Diving at the dam boat ramp at Smith Reservoir allows you to go deep in a hurry where low light and cold water make the diving a little more challenging. Huge old stumps from when there used to be an old growth forest here are a highlight.

Site Highlights

The reasons for people diving at the dam boat ramp on Smith Reservoir are mainly because the entrance is easy, you can go deep quickly, and there are big old stumps underwater to check out.  This is a typical Oregon Cascades lake or reservoir dive site with very cold water at depth, low viz if you stir up the bottom, and isolation from other humans.

Nearest Town:

There are no nearby towns.  Eugene, Bend, and Salem are equally far away.  There is a lodge at Clear Lake with a few basic services.

GPS Coordinates:

44.309534, -122.043461

Special Directions to Site:

Parking:

There is ample parking around the boat ramp but be sure to leave the ramp itself and the boat trailer parking clear for people with boats.  The last time we were here, we did not have to pay to park although this may change in the future.

smith reservoir dam boat ramp dive site
Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google.
The farther west you go, the deeper it gets until you exceed maximum recreational dive limits. The water intake structure south of this dive site is to be avoided.

Site Orientation:

This site is more or less aligned to the cardinal directions.  The shore runs roughly north-south.  Head east to find your exit.  Head west to find very deep water.  Be careful of going too far south.  You want to avoid the water intake structure so you don’t end up sucked to an untimely death in the hydro electric project.

Entrances and Exits:

The best part of this site is how easy the entrance and exit is.  Just walk down the boat ramp and into the water!  Easy!  Do be mindful though of boater traffic and the occasional angler.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a freshwater dive unless someone dumps a LOT of salt in the lake.

Shore/Boat:

This is a shore dive although you could practice your boat diving skills here.

Normal Conditions:

This site is usually pretty calm.  It’s a good idea to have a dive flag since you’re near an active (although seldom used) boat ramp.  We recommend a dive flag on our Gear We Use page that we have used all over Oregon and are very happy to have in our inventory.

It can get really dark at depth at this dive site, especially if the sun is not directly overhead.  A good dive light is a good idea.

Normal Visibility:

15-20 feet of viz is the norm here although during spring snow melt or heavy rainstorms, the viz can be much lower.  The bottom can be stirred up and lead to greatly reduced viz so practice good neutral buoyancy skills.

Normal Temperature:

At the surface it can easily hit 60F in the summer but at depth, the water can be 38F all year long and even colder when the snow is melting.  We had a regulator free flow at the other dive site at Smith Reservoir a few years ago because the water was so cold.

Best Time of Year:

Summer and early fall are the best times to go diving here.  In the winter and spring, snow makes this site usually inaccessible or miserably cold to dive.

Max Depth:

We have gone down to 100 feet here where we had a regulator free flow due to ice buildup.  You can go MUCH deeper if you want to or if you aren’t careful about watching your gauges.

Suggested Special Training:

This is an altitude dive site so you should have altitude diver training.  Open water divers can successfully dive here as long as you have altitude training.

Difficulty of Dive:

The entrance and exit are easy and most of the diving is easy.  However, because you can easily go way too deep if you aren’t paying attention, we rate this as an intermediate dive site.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

The most we have ever had to walk is 100 feet at this dive site.  If you can’t walk very far to an entrance, you could setup your gear right at the water’s edge and have someone move your car back up the boat ramp to the parking area.

Surface Swim Length:

No surface swim is needed here.

Special Site Notes:

This is an altitude dive site.  Beware of the water intake structure close to the dam.  The dam boat ramp is far enough away from the intake structure that you would have to either be very inattentive or actively try to get near it to be in danger but there is a danger that you could get sucked into it.

The water at depth is very cold and can cause your regulator to free flow due to ice formation.  We had it happen to us once at the other dive site on Smith Reservoir.

[Underwater Map of Dive Site Coming Soon!]

Closest Local Dive Shops to Get Air Fills and SCUBA Gear:

There are no close shops to Smith Reservoir’s dam boat ramp.  The closest shops are in Salem, Eugene, and Bend.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

There is limited food service at the lodge at Clear Lake.

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

There is camping at Trail Bridge Reservoir’s campground and plenty of primitive camping in the forests.  If you have a boat, there is a campground accessible only by boat or hiking at the north end of the lake.  At Clear Lake there is a lodge that rents cabins.

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

Please write in the comments below your experiences with this dive site!

Smith Reservoir – Upper Car Turnaround

The upper car turnaround at Smith Reservoir is a good place to go if you want underwater terrain that is a little less steep than near the dam on Smith Reservoir.  At this site you will see big algae mats near the surface and big stumps all over the place underwater.  It’s common to see trout cruising by here, too.

Smith Reservoir
Looking toward the dam on Smith Reservoir from the upper car turn-around dive site. This lake does get boat traffic occasionally so a dive flag is a good idea.

Site Highlights

The main highlight on this site is the big underwater stumps.  Old growth trees were cut down to make way for Smith Reservoir.  The stumps are big and plentiful as you go down the underwater slope.  This is also a good place to practice your diving skills at a little more forgiving of a site than somewhere like Clear Lake.  The walk from where you can park your car down to the water is somewhat challenging and can give good practice for doing more demanding entrances on the Oregon coast.

Nearest Town:

There aren’t any towns out here.  The nearest humans will probably be at the lodge at Clear Lake.  Otherwise Bend, Eugene, and Salem are all about the same distances away.  You need to be self sufficient at Smith Reservoir.

GPS Coordinates:

44.314719, -122.043345

Special Directions to Site:

Watch for the signs for NF-730, Tamolitch Trailhead, Smith Reservoir, and Trail Bridge Campground along the McKenzie River Highway.  The turn comes up fast so give yourself plenty of time to slow down and make the turn.  Once you cross the bridge, go left and drive past the big water turbine power generator.  There is a payphone here that worked the last time we checked.  There is no cell service here otherwise.

You will drive past the top end of Trail Bridge Reservoir (there are several dive sites at Trail Bridge Reservoir) and then head up a canyon before climbing up the face of Smith Reservoir Dam.  Keep driving along the east shore of the lake until you get to the dead-end and turn around.  This is the dive site parking area.

Parking:

The turn around at the end of the road has some areas that you can park at.  Be sure to not block the turn around so that other people can turn their vehicles around here.  The last time we were here, there were no signs or other indications of having to pay to park but this could change.

smith reservoir
Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google.
The turn around area at the end of the road above the dam at Smith Reservoir is big enough to turn a trailer around.

 

Site Orientation:

The site is laid out on the compass points.  North heads to the shallow headwaters of Smith Reservoir while south heads toward the Smith Reservoir Dam.  West sends you to deep water and east sends you to shore and your car.

Entrances and Exits:

There are several decent entrances and exits along the shore.  You do have to take some big steps to get into the water which can be exacerbated by water level in the reservoir.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a fresh water dive.

Shore/Boat:

This is a shore dive although you could throw a boat in this lake and practice your boat diving skills.

Normal Conditions:

We have never encountered any waves or current here.  Occasionally someone puts in a kayak, canoe, or motorboat so be sure to fly a dive flag.  We have a highly recommended dive flag on our Gear We Use page.  Water can be pretty cold though during spring snow melt.

Normal Visibility:

We have found visibility to be between 5 and 20 feet depending on the time of year and how much runoff is coming into Smith Reservoir.  The bottom can get stirred up so be sure to practice good neutral buoyancy skills.

Normal Temperature:

Normally you’ll find water in the 45-55F range depending on where in the water column you are.  In the spring, it can be much colder due to snow melt.

Best Time of Year:

Summer and fall are ideal conditions.  Once the snow starts to fall, this dive site is inaccessible.

Max Depth:

You can either stay shallow or go deeper here.  We have been down to 60 feet at this site on Smith Reservoir but you can go significantly deeper if you head west and south.  Watch your max depth and remember that this is an altitude dive.

Suggested Special Training:

Open water divers can successfully dive here.  However, this is an altitude dive site and you should have altitude diver training before you go diving here.

Difficulty of Dive:

The diving itself is easy.  Getting down to the dive site from the parking lot is more challenging.  We rate this as a beginner skill level dive site but be aware that it is a bit challenging to walk down to the water.  The other dive site at Smith Reservoir might be a better option if you don’t want a strenuous walk.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

250 feet unless the water is really low.

Surface Swim Length:

No surface swim needed.

bubbles
The water can be very clear in the right conditions at Smith Reservoir although usually the viz is around 15-20 feet.

Special Site Notes:

Remember that this is an altitude dive and you should have special training to dive at altitude.  Stay well clear of the water intake structure near the Smith Reservoir dam.  A flashlight (we have several we use and recommend on our Gear We Use page) is a good idea if you’re going deeper than about 30 feet.

We had a regulator build up ice at depth at this site and free flow on us once.  Because of the cold water and the depth you can achieve at the west and south parts of this dive site, there is the very real potential for a regulator free flow.

[Underwater Map of Dive Site Coming Soon!]

Closest Local Dive Shops to Get Air Fills and SCUBA Gear:

There are no close dive shops up at Smith Reservoir.  You need to be self sufficient.  There are shops in Bend, Salem, and Eugene.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

The closest food of any kind is at the lodge at Clear Lake.

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

The lodge at clear lake has some cabins for rent.  Otherwise there is a campground at Trail Bridge Reservoir just down the hill from Smith Reservoir or there is plenty of primitive camping in the area.

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

Please write in the comments below your experiences with this dive site!