Bonne Terre Mine is a maze of underwater passageways that meander through what is essentially a five-level underground city — a piece of history flooded in time. Only an hour south of St. Louis, the now-defunct mine makes a great weekend dive getaway. When you slip down to the dive deck 150 feet below ground, you are entering what was once one of the world’s largest lead mines, until the 1960s when it was abandoned and left to fill with water. Thanks to its underground location, the dive conditions remain consistent year-round, with water temps hovering around 58 degrees F and visibility that can’t be beat –– 500,000 watts of high-powered stadium lighting illuminating the entire subterranean world. There are 50 dive trails that visitors follow in sequential order, ensuring the entire mine can be explored and done so safely. Must-see sections include the Chapel Room, the locomotive near Fatman’s Misery and the area simply called “the Structure,” which features a huge elevator that once helped the mine keep humming along. When the diving is done head to the historic 1909 Depot, a quaint bed and breakfast with four guest rooms and two detached train car suites reflecting its former life as a train depot. The Whistle Stop Saloon is the perfect place to relax and have a drink before you head off to slumber.
Make It Happen
Three-night, four-dive packages are $370 per person including accommodations at the 1909 Depot. But book early — the mine is open only on weekends, and it’s a popular joint.
More Info: www.2dive.com