Ranger Lake is located at the southwest edge of Pitchstone Plateau

Ranger Lake is a small lake located one mile south of Ouzel Falls, northeast of Becher Meadows at the base of Pitchstone Plateau in Yellowstone National Park. William C. Gregg (an explorer who studied the Bechler area in the early 1920s) wanted to name the lake after his daughter Rachel in 1921, but the naming board wouldn't allow him to do that. Instead, he gave it its present name to honor the cadre of rangers who've protected the park's backcountry.

  • Location: 44.22 N / 110.97 W
  • Size: 56 acres
  • Depth: 38 feet avg; 98 feet maximum

Ranger Lake in SupervolcanoEdit

Approximately six months before the Yellowstone Supervolcano erupted, a conventional volcano formed and began erupting at Ranger Lake. While there had been eruptions at the park in the past (although not recently) the distance between Ranger Lake and Coffee Pot Springs caused increased concern that a Supervolcano eruption was imminent.[1]

Larry Skrtel's team travelled by snowmobile towards the erupting volcano in order to study it. They found that the volcano was spewing ash and chunks of magma into the sky. In addition, the lava had caused the lodgepole forest surrounding the lake to burn despite the winter snow cover. While wondering whether to approach closer, a boulder the size of a school bus was ejected and landed only a couple of hundred yards short of the team. Skrtel elected to move the team away from the volcano to Daniel Olson's disappointment, but he didn't argue.[2]

The continuing eruption caused Pitchstone Plateau to revert to its previous molten state as a lava field. The Park Service elected to allow tourists to continue to visit the north end of the Park as far south as Mammoth Hot Springs but place the area around Ranger Lake off limits. Kelly Birnbaum was skeptical, telling Colin Ferguson that Jackson, Wyoming wouldn't be far enough away, even Denver probably wouldn't.[3] The resulting ash clouds disrupted air travel over the Rockies for months after.[4]


  1. Eruption, pgs. 102-108, generally.
  2. Ibid, pgs. 104-108.
  3. Ibid, pgs. 118-119.
  4. Ibid, pg. 139.

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