I first saw Hebgen Lake in 2009 when a friend and I were out West to see Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. I saw Hebgen again in 2017 when my parents and I went out West to basically do the same tour.
Don’t get me wrong, both national parks are gorgeous and have incredible scenery, but the history behind what happened where these shots were taken and then downstream is incredible and sad.
Near midnight on August 17, 1959, an earthquake shook southwestern Montana. The quake caused a slide in Madison Canyon that dammed the Madison River and created Earthquake Lake. There were several campgrounds affected by the earthquake along the Madison River. Unfortunately, the falling rocks and rising water helped contribute to the 28 people who lost their lives from the earthquake.
Hebgen Lake also suffered due to the earthquake. Numerous houses were destroyed due to the shaking and heaving ground which cause massive waves. Also at Hebgen Lake, Highway 287 slid into the lake. You can still see evidence of the road disappearing into the lake today, along with crumbling houses and steps that lead into the lake that didn’t at the time of the earthquake.
When you’re in West Yellowstone, it’s well worth the drive west along Highway 287.
While the view is strikingly similar, there are differences. What spots do you like to return to? Do you notice how the sites stay the same, but at the same time, are different?