3 National Parks on the Continental Divide

The Continental Divide of the Americas is a large mountainous divide that separates rivers, snowfall & rainfall that flow into the Pacific from those that fall into the Atlantic. In the US, it starts from the Cape of Prince Wales in the western part of Alaska and then runs through northwestern Canada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. From there, the divide continues through the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains of Mexico, through Central America, and into the continent of South America.

The US Continental Divide also runs there several national parks! Here is the list.

Glacier National Park

From within the park, you will cross the Continental Divide on the Going-to-the-Sun Road (GTSR) at Logan Pass. The GTSR has to be plowed every spring and the last portion at Logan’s Pass may not be open until well into July. Plan on arriving early to grab a parking spot, as this area fills up fast.

Your other option is Marias Pass, at the southern boundary of the park along Highway 2. The pass is the lowest crossing of the Continental Divide between Canada and central New Mexico, at elevation 5,216 feet. It is also the northernmost pass in the US open to automobile traffic year-round.

Yellowstone National Park

I must have crossed Craig’s Pass when I was in Yellowstone but don’t have a picture! This crossing is at 8300 ft on the Grand Loop Road approximately 8 miles east of Old Faithful.

Craig’s Pass in June (yes, it snows that late)
Photo by Don DeBold on Flicker; shared under Creative Commons license 2.0, no changes
Rocky Mountain National Park

I did not make it far enough Trail Ridge Rd to cross the Continental Divide at Milner Pass when I visited Rocky Mountain national park in 2022. At 10,759 feet, this mountain pass has exceptional views of the Rockies. Milner Pass is named for T.J Milner, an ambitious railroad promoter who surveyed a rail route across the divide. Like many surveyed routes of the 1880s, the railroad line was never built.

NPS Photo of visitors at Milner Pass
Colorado – Independence Pass

This crossing of the Continental Divide is not in a national park, but is really scenic! We accidentally stumbled upon it when taking the scenic route between Aspen and Vail. It was a nice surprise and had gorgeous views!

Where have you crossed the continental divide? Let me know in the comments!

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