Parting Of The Waters

Wyoming USA

“Unique Fok in the stream.”

Parting of the Waters is an unusual hydrologic site at Two Ocean Pass on the Continental Divide, within the Teton Wilderness Area of Wyoming's Bridger-Teton National Forest. Two Ocean Pass separates the headwaters of Pacific Creek, which flows Westerly to the Pacific Ocean, and Atlantic Creek, which flows Easterly to the Atlantic Ocean. At Parting of the Waters, exactly on the Continental Divide at 44°02.576′N 110°10.497′WCoordinates: 44°02.576′N 110°10.497′W, North Two Ocean Creek flows down from its drainage on the side of Two Ocean Plateau and divides its waters more-or-less equally between its two distributaries, Pacific Creek and Atlantic Creek. From this split, Two Ocean Creek waters flow either 3,488 miles (5,613 km) to the Atlantic Ocean via Atlantic Creek and the Yellowstone, Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, or 1,353 miles (2,177 km) to the Pacific Ocean via Pacific Creek and the Snake and Columbia Rivers. At Parting of the Waters, water actually covers the Continental Divide such that a fish could safely swim from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean drainages. In fact, it is thought that this was the pass that provided the immigration route for Cutthroat Trout to migrate from the Snake River (Pacific) to Yellowstone River (Atlantic) drainages. This site received designation as a National Natural Landmark in 1965, bearing the official name of Two Ocean Pass National Natural Landmark. However, Parting of the Waters, by which this site is more commonly known, is actually located about 0.4 miles (0.64 km) NW of the low point of Two Ocean Pass, where North Two Ocean Creek emerges from its drainage basin on the side of Two Ocean Plateau. An interesting aspect of geology that makes Parting of the Waters possible is that the entire drainage of North Two Ocean Creek occurs within a hole in the Continental Divide. Two separate legs of the Continental Divide completely surround the drainage of North Two Ocean Creek, with one juncture of these two legs occurring at Parting of the Waters, and the other juncture occurring high up on Two Ocean Plateau approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) due North. As a consequence, a drop of rain falling anywhere within the North Two Ocean Creek drainage has an equal chance of flowing either into the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans.

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