Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cool Pool

Need a new thrill? Dive into one of the planet’s most unusual swimming holes. Tucked away in the sleepy town of Midway, Utah, Homestead Crater is a 55-foot-high dome filled halfway with 96-degree spring waters rich in minerals. It’s the perfect retreat after a chilly day of schussing at one of the four ski areas in nearby Park City.

The crater rises on the grounds of the Homestead Resort near Wasatch Mountain State Park, site of biathlon and cross-country skiing meets during the 2002 Winter Olympics. It won its earliest fans in 1886, when tired silver miners were lowered by rope from a hole at the dome’s top to soothe their sore muscles in the water.

Today, visitors enter through a 110-foot tunnel bored into the dome’s porous rock wall above the water line. You can take a dip in the crystal-clear pool—lighted at night—or grab a snorkel, mask, and fins and gaze down 65 feet at mineral deposits that grace the chamber’s sides. Homestead is the only warm-water scuba diving site in the continental United States.

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