Wyoming Creek Defies Nature & Flows To Two Different Oceans
We've all grown up learning that the Rocky Mountains mark a continental divide in the waters of America.
Everything east of the divide flows to the Mississippi and down into the Gulf of Mexico, then on to the Atlantic.
Everything west of the divide flows west, to the Pacific.
But did you know that there is a place along the Rocky Mountains where the waters from one creek flow into both?
This means that a fish swimming down this creak will have to make a choice. Left or right? The Atlantic or turn to the Pacific.
The creek is called Two Ocean Pass.
Two Ocean Pass is located on top of one of the mountains in Wyoming's Teton Wilderness, which is part of Wyoming's Bridger-Teton National Forest.
Pacific Creek and Atlantic Creek, at Parting of the Waters National Natural Landmark.
Atlantic Creek water eventually flows into the Yellowstone River and empties into the Gulf of Mexico via the Missouri River and Mississippi River.
Pacific Creek water eventually flows into the Snake River and empties into the Pacific via the Columbia River.
Two Ocean Pass is not only relevant to the dispersal of native Yellowstone cutthroat trout, but also to nonnative fish species. A recent study investigated a hypothesis that nonnative lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) could have invaded Yellowstone Lake by swimming across Two Ocean Pass rather than the original assumption that they were illegally introduced by a person. (USGS).
YES, you can hike to this spot. But it's not easy.
As the video below shows, you can't just drive up to a parking spot and walk a few hundred yards to the spot.
Scroll exactly 2:00 minutes into the video to find the moment when they arrive at the parting of the waters.
So if you think about it, a fish can actually swim up from the pacific, to this pass, then down to the Gulf Of Mexico and into the Atlantic.
It also means that soil and other nutrients from Wyoming cover most of the country, both east and west.