Yellowstone: Madison River Canyon Earthquake Area

The infamous 1959 earthquake that rocked Yellowstone National Park has left behind reminders that are still viewable to visitors today.

  • Spillway – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cut a spillway across the slide area. On September 10, 1959, water finally passed through this 250-foot-wide, 14-foot-deep channel. On October 17, 1959, it was deepened to 54 feet.
  • Visitor Center and Slide – Visitors can view the after effects of the slide from the observation center. Visitors can listen to an interpretive story or walk the trail to Memorial Boulder and view an overlook of the devastation caused by this deadly quake.
  • Rock Creek Turnaround – At this turnaround, a Forest Service campground lies nearly 100 feet underwater. The sudden rise in waters killed many campers, while others were able to escape.
  • Boat Launch – The original boat launch is still able to serve the public, but most of the old roadway is beneath Earthquake Lake.
  • Refuge Point – This ridge provided significant protection for quake survivors during the night of August 17, 1959. The next morning, smokejumpers parachuted in, setting up rescue operations. Later, helicopters evacuated survivors.
  • Ghost Village – This area highlights deserted cabins that were displaced from the waters of Earthquake Lake.
  • Cabin Creek Scarp – Remarkably, a 21-foot fault line severed this old campground.
  • Hebgen Dam – Damaged by heavy tremors and earthquake waves, the earthfill dam held tight during this tragic event.
  • Building Destruction – Visitors can take short walks through the area and see the old cabins that lay submerged in Hebgen Lake.
  • Road Destruction – Part of Highway 287 is one of three areas where the road collapsed into Hebgen Lake. The old portions of the road are viewable where the land shifted during this powerful earthquake.
  • Red Canyon – This canyon highlights the fault scrap that extends nearly 14 miles, creating a cliff from friction and movement along the fault.
  • Duck Creek Y. – This is the epicenter of the earthquake.

Yellowstone Holiday is located on the shores of Hebgen Lake, Montana. Known for it is spectacular fishing, this Yellowstone RV park, is popular for sailing, waterskiing, paddling, canoeing, kayaking, swimming and wildlife reviewing. It is especially renowned for superb fishing, which attracts people from states across the U.S.

Yellowstone Holiday offers Hebgen Lake cabins, as well as West Yellowstone campgrounds. For visitors to Yellowstone National Park, Yellowstone Holiday is approximately 15 minutes outside the West Entrance to the park.



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