Take Part in the History that Shaped Earthquake Lake

Release Date: Aug 15, 2019

Contact(s): Mariah Leuschen-Lonergan, 406-548-1174


Overlook at Refuge Point   Ghost Trees Standing in Earthquake Lake with Visitors Center in background   Interpretive Sign leading to Refuge Point



Hikes, Junior Geology Ranger Program, Badge & Activities Throughout August

BOZEMAN, July 23, 2019 – Sixty years have passed since the 1959 Hebgen Lake Earthquake on August 17, 1959, but the evidence of its marks on the natural landscape provide a prominent lasting memory.  Saturday, August 17, 2019 the Earthquake Lake Visitor's Center and Geologic Area, as part of the Hebgen Lake Ranger District, Custer Gallatin National Forest will be remembering the 60th Anniversary of the event that shaped its history.  This 7.3 magnitude earthquake triggered a landslide that blocked the Madison River, killing 28 people and forming Earthquake Lake. 

                As part of acknowledging and remembering this tragic event the Earthquake Lake Visitor's Center focuses in part on the historic and geologic make-up of the area, giving people that walk through for just a couple hours or spend most of the day a lasting learning experience.  Throughout August the Visitor's Center will host a Junior Geology Ranger program ages 9 and up (DAILY - approximately 90 minutes for kiddos), along with guest speakers, hikes, a smokejumper practice jump & viewing at Refuge Point and a memorial service, with book signings. 

Full line-up of events includes:  

  • August 3 & 10, 2019 - Occurring on two Saturday’s in August at 10:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m. - Guided landslide walk to Memorial Boulder – a short, handicap accessible walk telling the story of the Earthquake and providing stunning views of the surrounding landscape.  Visitors can choose to do a short hike 1/8 mile to Memorial Boulder or continue on an unpaved gravel path on Landslide Trail (approx. 1 mile). 
  • August 8, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. & 3:00 p.m. respectively – Interpretive Afternoon with Leslie Quinn & Mike Stickney.  1:00 P.M:  Shake, Rattle & Roll:  60 years Since the Hebgen Lake Earthquake, 3:00 P.M. Mike, Director of Earthquake Studies will speak to the 1959 Quake and Geology.
  • August 16, 2019 at 2:00 p.m.  – Guest Speaker, Jamie Farrell, Assistant Professor of Seismograph Stations, University of Utah, Visitor’s Center
  • August 17, 2019 – Memorial Service at 10:30 at Memorial Boulder with Pastor Benny McCraken followed by memories from survivors.  Rock Creek Campground survivors share their stories from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Book signing by Larry Morris, 1959 Yellowstone Earthquake & Anita Painter Thon, Shaken in the Night will happen throughout the day.
  • August 18, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. – Smokejumper Practice Jump at Refuge Point - Smokejumpers were one of the first to aid survivors.  Smokejumpers are often used to access remote areas, view a jump in action and walk the 2.5-mile trail around Refuge Point.  Bring bear spray, water and a picnic lunch to enjoy the day with the family.   More information call 406-682-7620.