Things to do / Travel Guide
Diving in Montana and Wyoming
Yellowstone is often referred to as America's Serengeti, and the wildlife watching is not just restricted to land. Private scuba companies based in Bozeman and Billings can take those looking for a little underwater adventure to some prime scuba sites in the Yellowstone region. The fish may not be tropical, but after a dive with these experts, the scenery will sure feel exotic. Equipment, instruction and guides are all available through the local dive companies. All dives in Montana are made at high altitude, so proper training is required.
Diving in Yellowstone Lake
Inside Yellowstone Park is the beautiful Yellowstone Lake, one of the world's largest freshwater lakes. It is the largest high altitude lake in North America, situated at more than 7,700 feet and it is home to the largest inland population of wild cutthroat trout on the continent. There are also spires, likely the result of thermal activity, located about 300 feet off shore near the Bridge Bay Marina. They are covered with fresh water sponges and spread over a large area and are therefore easy to miss. They can be seen with a quick boat ride to dive sites in the lake, Divers can expect a surface swim, with the outlines of pillars from the bottom reaching as high as 35 feet.
Diving in Firehole River, Yellowstone National Park
One of the region's most popular diving sites, the Firehole River is accessed from the Firehole River drive, a one-way road that begins near the Madison Junction. The water is actually warmer than many expect, since it is down stream from the thermal features of Yellowstone National Park. Past the swim area down the road, divers head into two holes, about 20-30 feet deep in a small area. You will find yourself in the swim area, where you can settle to bottom and watch trout swimming up stream.
Diving at the Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area
Located 90 miles south of Billings, the reservoir at the Big Horn National Recreation Area is a prime spot for regional diving. The 50 mile long reservoir, created by a hydroelectric dam built on the Big Horn river, is home to carp, ling, wall eye, and small mouth bass. Popular for fishing and water skiing, there are several small coves where divers can escape heavy traffic. Diving sites can be accessed by boat, with rentals available at the marina. Water temperatures range between 65 and 75 degrees, with visibility at about 10-30 feet in the summer and even better in the fall months.