Lake, River, or Waterfall

Hebgen Lake Earthquake


Photo © Daryl Hunter

The 6-mile (10-kilometer) long Quake Lake began to fill in 1959 when an earthquake-triggered landslide plugged the Madison River canyon. The slide buried 19 campers, but protected the lower Madison Valley from the tsunamis that sloshed over Hebgen Dam higher up the canyon.

The earthquake was measured at a magnitude 7.3 - 7.5 on the Richter scale, and was one of the strongest and deadliest to occur in Montana in the last 100 years. The landslide was one of the most-costly ever in the Northwest United States.

A visit to the Visitor's Center provides informative exhibits of the damage caused by the earthquake and ensuing landslide, as well as scenic overlooks, films, and much more.

Recreational Opportunities

Visitor center contains photos of the region before and after the quake, information videos and scenic overlooks. Boating, paddling, hiking.

Seasons Accessible

9:00 am to 6:00 pm Memorial Day to Labor Day

Fees: Fees are $3 per car, $15 per tour bus, $1 for hikers/bikers.

For More Information, Contact:

USDA Forest Service, Hebgen Lake Ranger District

West Yellowstone, MT 59758

First wrote on December 11, 2014: First

Boundaries and names shown do not necessarily reflect the map policy of the National Geographic Society.

Longitude: -111.233825700
Latitude: 44.804006400
Elevation: 6876 FT (2096 M)
Meet the Contributor:
Sam Pepple
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