Madison, Montana, US
2) Quake Lake to 1.5 miles downstream
||IV-V (for normal flows)
Mark at S-Turn
Mark at S-TurnPhoto of Mark by David Schroeder taken 9/2002 @ 1000
On August 17th, 1959 at 11:37 PM a major earthquake rocked the Greater Yellowstone Area. Rating a
7.5 on the Richter Scale, this quake was the largest in the documented history of Montana and took
the greatest toll on human life. An entire mountainside came tumbling down on a crowded forest
service campground before charging a full 400 feet up the opposite mountainside. This slide
completely dammed the Madison River, eventually forming Earthquake Lake. The Army Corp of Engineers
cut a new path for the river through the debris and this is now a SW Montana padling classic.
The run starts across from the Quake Lake visitors center on Montana Hwy 287. A dirt path leads
down to where the lake once again becomes a river. From the moment you drift through the skeletal
reamins of the forest poking up from the lake bottom, you are faced with continuous class IV boogie
water requiring good read and run paddling skills. Though not overly difficult, the upper section
is shallow and extremely sharp. A swim would be painful at best.
As you fly down the run, keep your eyes peeled for a big eddy on river left, just before the river
bends hard to the right. You will be directly below the main part of the slide. Catch this eddy and
scout the next 120 yards. This rapid, known as the S-Turn, is known for carnage and has drawn its
fair share of blood. It is a definite class V at all levels but can easily be portaged on the
Below this drop, the river mellows quickly and you can take out wherever you like as Hwy. 287
follows this run in its' entirety. Most folks run it two or three times in a day. Enjoy!
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2007-03-27 19:57:44