Floating Under Main Street

I'm not sure when I first stood behind the Eagles Club and watched Bozeman Creek disappear beneath the asphalt. I do know that I couldn't stop thinking about it. Clambering down the bank one night, I peered in: darkness. Nothing but the muted rumble of rapids echoing off the tunnel walls.

Inquiries only enhanced the mystery. While many people had thought about it, and some had heard stories of it being done, it was nearly impossible to find someone who had actually floated under Main Street. Apparently two girls drowned in the darkness late one night, decades ago. 

Bozeman Main Street Inner Tube

What was under there? Barbed wire? Rocks? Jagged rebar protruding from the concrete? I had no idea what obstacles lay in wait. All I knew was that I had to do it.

I found a willing partner and we waited for the right conditions. Finally, after a few days of cold, wet weather, the clouds broke and a warm day dawned. The water was at a good level—not too high, risking a tight, possibly deadly squeeze; and not too low, causing us to ground out and get hung up inside. We decided to go for it.

Bozeman Main Street Tube

The anticipation had built up over several weeks, and I was nervous. Would our tubes pop? Would spiders fall on us as we blindly careened through the cold, damp tunnel? Would my childhood fear of the dark resurface mid-float?

Screw it, I thought. Let's do this. At Bogert Park, we strapped on our helmets, loaded our inner tubes, and set off. We got more than a few “what the hell are they doing” glances from people walking their dogs along the stream. 

Bozeman Main Street Float

Through a short culvert, then another, and we were at the Eagles. In we went, underground, into the darkness. It was quiet and calm; the only movement was the rhythmic bouncing of our tubes.

Tubing Bozeman's Main St.

And just like that, it was over... we had passed under Main Street. A few beers dropped down on us from the Bar IX patio, and then we hit a series of bridges, one of which was so low we had to suck flat against our tubes to avoid being knocked off.

Tubing Main St. in Bozeman

 A few minutes later, we reached the take-out at Audrey's Pizza, where I asked, “Can we go again, right now?”

Here's the video footage of the float. Dramamine highly reccomended.  

Editor's note: Do not try this at home, kids. Floating through tunnels and under bridges is dangerous. It might even be illegal, we're not sure. Either way, replicating this adventure is not advised.

Photos by Dan Tang and Matt Canfield 
Video by Scott Davidson and Buller Rork







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