Leave West Yellowstone on US 20 over the Targhee Pass into Idaho and make a right turn onto Idaho 87. At the next junction you will turn right again onto US 287. The driving adventure begins as you pass through the Madison River Canyon which, in 1959, was struck by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded on the North American continent. Measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, the earthquake caused an enormous landslide and sent 80 million tons of rock tumbling into the canyon, obstructing the flow of the Madison River. The water soon backed up behind the fallen rocks and formed Earthquake Lake. Today the Madison River Canyon Earthquake Area is of great scientific and general interest.
Stop at the Visitors Center to see a short movie and pick up one of the driving tour brochures. While there walk the trail to the Memorial Boulder and overlook. Then as you drive along the banks of the water, the effect of the changing earth can be seen all around. Be sure to stop at the pullouts and scenic overlooks, go to the Ghost Village and visit Refuge Point. Along the way watch for wild life such as Mountain Goats, Bald Eagles, Osprey, Pika, Moose, Black bear and then, of course, signs of the Earthquake.
For a longer day trip reverse your trip leaving West Yellowstone on Hwy 289/191 and turn left onto US 287 about 10 miles from West Yellowstone and then after the Visitor Center go to Big Springs, Mesa Falls and Cave Falls into Idaho or continue on to Ennis and Virginia & Nevada Cities.