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Quake Lake


  • Yellowstone
  • Lake
On August 17, 1959 an earthquake in the Madison Canyon River Area, near West Yellowstone, formed Quake Lake. The earthquake created a massive landslide of about 80 million tons of rock, which stopped the flow of the Madison River in the Madison River Canyon gorge. The landslide caused 28 deaths, flooding and about $11 million in damage to the forests and highways in the area.

The lake measures five miles long, one-third of a mile wide, and 190 feet deep. Today many fishermen enjoy fishing by boat or along the shores of the lake. The shoreline is accessible from Highway 287 and a boat ramp can also be found. Cutthroat and brown trout are stocked yearly. Float tube fishing is not the best way to fish because of the many timbers below the surface and the occasional high winds. However, those timbers create great places for the fish to live, making dry fly fishing great.

The Earthquake Lake Visitor Center displays a Memorial Boulder from the earthquake with a plaque of the names of the 28 people who died and the events of the earthquake. The visitor's center is open 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week from Memorial Day through mid-September.

The visitor's center phone number:
Summer - 406-682-7620
Winter - 406-823-6961
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Alternate Phone
Mailing Address
PO Box 520
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
Memorial Day - Labor Day
7 days a week: 8:30am - 6:00pm
Special direction map

Special Directions

Quake Lake is 24 miles from the West Entrance to Yellowstone National Park, along Highway 287 near Hebgen Lake in southwestern Montana, north of the Idaho border.