Yellowtail Dam Visitor Center


By the early 1900s, virtually all of the land in this area had been divided into farms and ranches. Recognizing that the farmers and ranchers in this arid climate would need a reliable source of water, engineers in the Department of Interior's Bureau of Reclamation began studying the feasibility of a dam that would store water for irrigation. Ultimately, construction of the Yellowtail Dam began in 1961, as part of the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program. The dramatic 525-foot-high concrete thick-arch dam was completed in 1966. The Yellowtail Power Plant, at the foot of the dam, produces an average of 950,000 kilowatts of electricity each year.

Activity Details

Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Discipline:Civil, Electrical
Topic(s):Structures
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Time:Full day

Fun Fact:The Yellowtail Dam is said to be the highest dam in the Missouri River Basin and creates the 71-mile Bighorn Lake, one of the largest reservoirs on the Missouri River tributary system and the focal point of the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. The National Park Service manages the recreation area, which has 191 miles of shoreline.
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