Local diving is usually defined as dive sites that can be driven to within an hour or two. We typically visit these locations as a day trip. There’s no shop cost involved, since there’s no overnight stays (unless for a special occasion), so most of the time the only fee a diver pays is the entry into the park, air fills, and food if they didn’t pack a cooler. We use these sites for training, certifications, and fun-diving days as an excuse to get a group together and blow bubbles and maybe give each other a hard time.
Falling Rock Quarry, also known as Joe Clark’s Quarry, is located in La Grange, Kentucky and owned/operated by Joe Clark and his staff. The 7 acre quarry is surrounded on two sides by tall cliffs with plenty of parking. The back side of the quarry has several walk-in entries, as well as floating docks for giant strides. Primarily a training quarry, depth averages 20-30 feet but has sheer cliffs that mimic wall diving. Maximum depths are around 40-45 feet in the middle of the quarry. Swimmers are allowed in the quarry, so visibility may vary depending on the number of swimmers you see and the divers entering/exiting the water.
- Average depth: 20-30 ft. Max depth 45 ft.
- Visibility: varies depending on divers/swimmers. Tends to increase later in season
- Wildlife: Bass, bluegill, catfish, carp
- Cost: $40 per student (cost is for weekend but paid as flat fee). $20 per certified diver
- No air fills or food on site. Closest air fills are at Paradise Divers about 10 minutes away and food is available in town.
- All divers must sign waiver of liability before entering. No one under 18 permitted unless as a certified diver or student.
- Falling Rock website information
Hidden Paradise is located in St. Paul, Indiana. This is a combination camp ground and dive site with a 15 acre quarry for divers to explore. The majority of the quarry sits at a 15-20 ft. depth, with a sump hole that drops to approximately 35 ft. Because of the shallow depth and number of swimmers, visibility usually runs 7-10 feet but may increase in cooler weather. Sunken objects include several boats, a minibus, and some mining equipment left over from when the quarry was operational.
- Average Depth: 15-20 ft. Maximum depth 35 ft.
- Visibility: Generally on the lower end unless cooler weather or few divers/swimmers
- Wildlife: Bass, bluegill, catfish, crappie, paddlefish, turtles, freshwater jellyfish in fall.
- Cost: $20.00 per diver. Camping is extra
- Air fills and food available at camp store. Air fills are $10.00 each
- Divers must complete a waiver of liability before diving.
- Hidden Paradise website
Natural Springs is a combination dive site and campground located in New Paris, OH, near the border of Indiana near Dayton. Natural Springs is a 12 acre quarry with a large shallow area averaging 20 feet throughout, and a deep trench at the back of the quarry that backs against cliffs and depth reaches 35-40 feet. If you look carefully you can find the spring in the trench that the mining company hit and fills the quarry today. As with most shallow quarries, visibility is affected greatly by number of divers and swimmers in the water. Conditions may deteriorate rapidly during the day if crowded. This is one of the few diving quarries that allows fishing, but the site limits fisherman to cut down on monofilament line in the water. Most sunken objects are smaller boats and trucks so much of the quarry is in a natural state.
- Average Depth: 20 ft. Maximum depth 35-40 ft.
- Visibility: May vary greatly depending on number of people in water but generally drops over course of day. Visibility usually much better toward back wall where few divers go.
- Wildlife: Bass, bluegill, catfish, crappie, grass carp, freshwater jellyfish in fall.
- Cost: $18.00 per diver. Camping is extra.
- Air fills and food available at camp store. Divers receive one free air fill with admission. Extra fills are $10.00.
- Natural Springs website
- Diver Liability Waiver. Waiver is good for one dive season.
Located in Circlevlle, Ohio, about 30 miles south of Columbus, Twin Quarries is unique in that they offer access to two 10 acre quarries for one price. Each site is an abandoned gravel quarry, and depth averages 20 feet. This site has several larger objects sunk in the quarry such as a Cessna airplane and several buses and cars. Camping is available and there are multiple picnic tables and ample space for gear to be set up. Classroom space is free to instructors so this makes a nice site for certification dives and refresher training. Gear rental and air fills are also available on-site here.
- Average Depth: 20 ft.
- Visibility: May vary greatly depending on number of divers as this is a shallow site.
- Wildlife: Bass, bluegill, catfish, crappie, turtles, freshwater jellyfish in fall.
- Cost: $12.00 per diver. Night diving is available on weekends but additional fee may apply.
- Air fills available for $7.00
- Twin Quarries website
- Diver Liability Waiver
White Rock is a new addition to local dive sites. This park is located in St. Paul, Indiana, less than a mile from Hidden Paradise. The site used to be open for diving but closed to divers several years ago, marketing instead to swimmers. We have been speaking to the owner at White Rock and been given permission to dive the site. Depth is mostly in the 15-20 foot range, with a center section that drops to approximately 30 feet, though much of this is still being mapped out and verified. The site also has a primitive campground with a second quarry attached open only for fishing. This is first and foremost a swimming quarry. However, all entries are done via floating docks and platforms, so swimmers do not touch bottom, which results in little sediment stirred up. We have seen great visibility at this location even with swimmers above us, and no one bothered us at depth. Visibility though is subject to weather and is typical of the midwest quarries, so it experiences several turnovers that may affect visibility. There are multiple sunken objects such as a school bus, van and boat and more that we are finding each trip. Watch for more information on this site as we hope to work together with the staff at White Rock to open this for more divers.
Since this is a swimming quarry, there are many things for divers to do on surface intervals or for non-divers. White Rock has a zip line that drops over the quarry, a rope swing, and low (20 ft.) and high (50 ft.) cliffs for jumping. Food is available on-site and this is a family-friendly environment so children are welcome. The owner of White Rock is a great guy and wonderful to deal with. He really wants to make the park enjoyable for everyone and bends over backwards to help every visitor.
- Average Depth: 15-20 ft. Max depth is reported to be 30 ft but this is still being surveyed and verified so more to come on this.
- Visibility: May vary greatly depending on weather. Swimmers do not seem to have an effect on visibility as they do not touch bottom.
- Wildlife: Bass, bluegill, catfish, crappie, carp, turtles, paddlefish.
- Cost: $12.00 per diver.
- Air fills are not available yet on-site, but may be done at Hidden Paradise for $10.00 per fill.
- Camping available. Many things for non-divers to do including a zip line, rope swing, and low and tall cliff jumps.
- Currently permission to dive White Rock must be made with owner ahead of time. We are still in early stages of opening this up to divers so we are being sensitive not to do anything that might affect other visitors at the park.
- White Rock website
- Liability Waiver