BONNE TERRE MINES

We invite you to participate in a most enjoyable, exciting, and historically educational experience by touring and learning the geological aspect of the BONNE TERRE MINES National Historic Site, “The Worlds Largest Man Made Caverns”, and one of history’s earliest “Deep Earth” Lead Mines. BONNE TERRE MINES is a leisurely one hour drive south from St. Louis, just off Highway 67 in the center of the Historic Mining Town of Bonne Terre, Missouri, and remains 62 degrees year-round. BONNE TERRE MINES was one of the earliest lead mines in Missouri, and was the worlds largest producer of lead ore. Mining at Bonne Terre began in 1860, and continued until 1962. The mine covers an underground area larger than the town of Bonne Terre, and consists of five levels. The lower three levels form a seventeen mile long illuminated Underground “Billion Gallon Lake” which was filmed and dived by Jacques Cousteau, and is home of the worlds largest inland SCUBA diving resort. Boat Tours are available on the “Billion Gallon Lake”. The two upper levels of the Mine are lighted and used for one hour guided Walking Tours along the old Mule Trails. BONNE TERRE MINES has been featured in publications such as the ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH, WASHINGTON POST, NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, PEOPLE MAGAZINE, LOS ANGELES TIMES, CHICAGO SUN TIMES, SKIN DIVER MAGAZINE, and Jr. High geography text books. The MINE has been the subject of local, national, and international TV shows, and is featured in JACQUES COUSTEAU MISSISSIPPI RIVER ADVENTURE, DISCOVER CHANNEL, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, CBS THIS MORNING, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, LEARNING CHANNEL, and many others.


TYPES OF TOURS: 1. WALKING TOURS…A one hour guided walking tour through the first and second levels of the Mine along the old Mule Trail, showing were miners dug with pick and shovel in the 1800’s, the earliest shaft dug in 1864, Huge Pillar Rooms, Grand Canyon, Billion Gallon Lake, Trout Pond, Underground Flower Gardens, Beautiful Calcite Falls, and Ancient Abandoned Mining Tools, and Rail Systems. ADULTS $12.00 UNDER 11 $6.00. 2. BOAT TOURS…(Includes Walking Tour) A guided tour by boat, of the BILLION GALLON LAKE with its crystal clear water, and spectacular view of the largest parts of the Mine, No.1 Elevator, Submerged Ore Carts, Wrapped Pillars, and Ancient Abandoned Overhead Wooden Cat Walks suspended 50-100 feet above the LAKE. ALL AGES $17.50..Offered on weekends only unless by special arrangement 3. SCUBA DIVING…”DIVE TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH”. BONNE TERRE MINE is the world’s largest fresh water diving resort. Diving conditions remain constant with over 100+ foot visibility and 58 degree water temperatures year-round!! Diving is conducted in groups of 9 divers by 2 dive guides on one of 24 different dive trails, illuminated from above the water with over 500,000 watts of stadium lighting…SCUBA DIVING on Weekends only by prepaid reservations You must be a certified diver…Contact: WEST END DIVING at 314-209-7200 | More Info: Bonne Terre Mines


The Bonne Terre Mine is a unique destination in Missouri. The mine was named after the small town it is located in and means “Good Earth” when translated from French. The mine is bigger than the town it is named for, consisting of 5 levels. The lower three levels combine to form a 17 mile long underground lake. This crystal clear lake is perfect for SCUBA diving and is the only inland SCUBA resort in the country.

The billion gallon lake, located completely underground, offers tourists a chance to experience the mine in a most unusual way. For those that do not like dive, you can take boat tours of the lake. The water is so clear that you can see 100 feet down at any given time.

The top two layers of the mine can be toured by foot and visitors can see what it was like to work in a lead mine 100 years ago. This mine opened in 1860 and continued to produce lead for over 100 years.

The Bonne Terre mine is perhaps most famous for its diving. It is the only inland SCUBA resort in the country, and of its kind. Many adventure seekers come here to experience the cool, clear depths of the water. Jacques Cousteau is perhaps the most famous person who enjoyed diving in this lake. National Geographic has also voted the Bonne Terre mines as one of the top 10 adventure spots in the country.

Divers can opt for one of the many dive packages offered at the resort. Children under 18 are allowed to dive if they are certified and have written parental permission. All divers are required to be certified to dive in the mine and log books will be kept.

The mine is open everyday during the summer months, and on the weekends only during winter. Depending on the weather, October business hours may vary.

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