September 3-8, West Yellowstone, MT

We left Virginia City and headed south to West Yellowstone where we are staying at Rainbow Point Campground, a National Forest Campground North of West Yellowstone on Hebgen Lake.

We had to wait alongside the road for a cattle drive to clear the road.

We drove to Earthquake Lake a few miles North of Hebgen Lake and stopped at the Madison River Canyon Earthquake Area Visitor Center. On August 17, 1959 one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded on the North American continent struck the Madison River Canyon. The quake measured 7.5 and triggered a massive landslide sending over 80 million tons of rock down into the canyon totally blocking the Madison River. The water backed up behind the slide forming Earthquake Lake. Twenty-eight people were killed in this earthquake, mostly campers and individuals in resort cabins. The Army Corps of Engineers dug a spillway across the slide area so the Madison River could continue flowing and to keep the lakes from flooding more. We followed an auto tour route of the area to see some of the damage from 50 years ago. We read where a campground was split in half with the picnic table 20 ft above the fire ring. We also read where a couple sleeping in a tent were killed when a large boulder fell on their tent but everything on their picnic table was untouched. We had not heard about this earthquake before and were fascinated by the story.

A couple of miles from the campground we found an old fire lookout tower. Unfortunately, it was closed so we couldn’t climb up into it.

We drove to Beartooth Pass which is between Cooke City and Red Lodge in Montana. It was a beautiful drive and the pass area is very rugged. We drove through Yellowstone Natl. Park on the way and found a section of the North loop road closed so we had to drive the entire South loop to get to the Northeast Entrance – we figure it added close to 80 miles each way to our trip.

Here is a picture of the Beartooth from the pass.

We waited until after the Labor Day holiday to go into Yellowstone National Park. We have been here a couple of times before so didn’t try to see the whole park. We went to a few areas we had not seen before and stopped at the Upper and Lower Falls where we hiked a trail to the brink of the lower falls. Of course, we had to see Old Faithful again where we hiked to an overlook and watched the eruption ftom above. We saw lots of buffalo and a few elk but no beas or wolves this time. Here are a few pictures.


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