Linn County has plenty of water and divers enjoy the North and South Santiam rivers, as well as Green Peter and Foster Lake, which are warm enough to skin dive in during the summer.
The real attraction for divers, though, is Clear Lake, located on the east end of the county, a few miles from the junction of Highways 20 and 126. Clear Lake is exactly that – spring-fed, crystal-clear water that often boasts 100- to 200-foot visibility. It is considered by some to be one of the most exceptional freshwater dive spots in the United States. On the lake bottom, about 100 feet down, are standing trees that were killed when volcanic activity created the lake approximately 3,000 years ago. The one drawback for divers is that the spring is a cold one – the lake’s average water temperature is about 43 degrees and it gets colder if you explore one of the cold water vents on the north end of the lake. Dry suits are recommended, though many dive it in thick wet suits. The cold water has also, though, helped preserve the afore-mentioned tree trunks. At a little more than 3,000 feet in elevation, it’s technically an altitude dive, and many area shops use it for training and test dives.