Earthquake Lake Visitor Center
Learn a bit of local history at the Earthquake Lake Visitor Center which gives visitors a panoramic view of the mountain that fell and the lake that was formed in a 1959 earthquake. When it occurred, it was the second largest earthquake to occur in the lower 48 states in the 20th century. Twenty-eight people lost their lives when an earthquake near the Madison River triggered a massive landslide. The slide moved at 100 mph and in less than 1 minute, more than 80 million tons of rock crashed into the narrow canyon, blocking the Madison River and forming Earthquake Lake. This earth- changing event, known as the Hebgen Lake Earthquake, measured 7.5 on the Richter scale.
The visitor center has educational displays on earthquakes, plate tectonics, and a working seismograph. Visitors can easily see the lake and the effects of the strongest earthquake in the Rocky mountains. It's about 40 minutes from the Westgate Hotel, and makes a great half-day excursion with opportunities for dining and some short hikes.