Yellowstone Discovery: Across the Continental Divide

One of the loveliest drives in Yellowstone is the stretch of road from Old Faithful to West Thumb Geyser Basin. The part of the Grand Loop Road, meanders over several Craig Pass.

This is a mountainous stretch of road that passes over the Continental Divide. Surrounded by deep wooded forests, the sixteen miles of road curves opening up to daring vistas.

As we leave Kepler Cascade, heading east, the road ascends over Craig Pass. A mountain pass is a navigable route over a mountain range or over a ridge. It is also known as a ‘Gap’ (in Blue Ridge Mountains of Eastern US).

I hiked over Craig Pass and also the nearby backcountry Grant’s Pass to reach Shoshone Geyser Basin while working in YNP. It definitely was a difficult climb – and I need to train before doing that again.

Speaking of hiking – I recommend the Delacy Creek Hike. This six mile roundtrip hike meanders through dense forests and lush wildflower covered meadows lead you an a fairly leisurely hike to Yellowstone’s largest backcountry lake – Shoshone Lake.

This hike provides a relaxing backcountry trek with pretty views.

Remember when hiking in Yellowstone’s backcountry to be Bear Aware and respect wildlife.

The Continental Divide:

Visitors can enjoy a roadside view of the Continental Divide at Isa Lake.

A Continental Divide is a like a roof of a house. As the rain falls, the roof either diverts the water to the front or the backyard. The rain falling on the Continental Divide ends up in either the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans.

Isa Lake resembles a small pond – with lilypads covering the ‘pond’ – but It is a Lake – ‘Is – a – Lake’

Isa is one of the most unique lakes in the world. It is the only natural lake that flows into both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. It also drains backwards.

The lake straddles the Continental Divide at 8,262 feet. Isa Lake was discovered by Hiram Chittenden in 1891 as he was exploring a shorter route that connect Old Faithful to the West Thumb.

Isa is covered with gorgeous lilies in the summer. During a visit in June the lake was still covered in snow.

A few miles from Isa Lake, I recommend stopping in the Shoshone Point turnout. The vista allows you to see Shoshone Lake in the backcountry.

The road bend twists into a clearing revealing Yellowstone Lake in the near distance.

We are going to stop at West Thumb Geyser Basin in our next blog adventure.

*West Thumb Junction connects the Grand Loop Road with Yellowstone’s Southern Road to Grand Teton. (stay tuned – we’ll drive this path soon)

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