The Continental Divide

(Right photo: A view of the various divides in North America. The photo is placed on Wikipedia and can be viewed here.)

I have always been interested by the Continental Divide, sometimes referred to as the "Great Divide" of North America. The idea of a high point that seperates major watersheds and river systems is intriguing. At Monarch Pass in Colorado, for example, I could spit on the eastern side of the divide knowing that glob would theoretically flow down to the Arkansas River, then the Mississippi River and eventually to the Atlantic Ocean. A spit on the west side would lead to the Gunnison River and then the Colorado River before flowing into the Pacific Ocean. The Continetal Divide kind of serves as the opposite point of the ocean; it is the backbone of a continent.

Now let me clarify definitions. As noted in the right photo, various continental divides exist in North America. The "Eastern Divide" seperates watersheds that flow to the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico respectively. The Northern Divide seperates the continent from north to south and the St. Lawrence Seaway Divide in the northeast USA and eastern Canada is sometimes noted on more sophisticated maps. For this website, I define the "Great Divide" as the Continental Divide.

Tincup Pass Ah and let's not forget closed basins - areas in which water drains into the ground instead of flowing down a river. The Great Basin in Nevada is the most noteable example. Also, in a section of land in southwest Wyoming, the Continental Divide splits, creating a basin between it.

During the settlement days, mountains were frequently viewed as pesky obstacles to pass en route to destinations. Hence, the term "pass" was used as the the most passable point (usually the lowest point) on a ridge to cross a mountain range. Today our scenic Rocky Mountains are viewed much differently, but the need to get over mountain ranges to various points will always exist!

I created this website to give me an excuse to intentionally visit as many spots as possible along the Continental Divide. Definitely enjoy my photo collections below! Since I live in Colorado, many photos were taken right here in the Centennial State, but I look forward to visiting New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, Canada and elsewhere. Thank you for visiting!

Buena Vista, Colorado

Personal Website:
Twitter: @stevegarufi
Facebook: /coloradoguycom
Pinterest: Steve Garufi
YouTube: /kisscactus

(Right photo: Myself standing at Tincup Pass in central Colorado.)

My Photos and Travels

I've kept it simple: No more than three photos of the views at each spot on the divide.


Craig Pass
Craig Pass
Located in Yellowstone National Park.


Berthoud Pass
Betrhoud Pass
North of Interstate 70 in Colorado.
Eisenhower Tunnel
Eisenhower Tunnel
If you've ever gone skiing / snowboarding in the Interstate 70 corridor, you've probably driven through this.
Loveland Pass
Loveland Pass
Before the Eisenhower Tunnel opened in the 1970s, this was the pass via Highway 6.
Hoosier Pass
Hoosier Pass
Between Fairplay and Breckenridge.
Fremont Pass
Between Copper Mountain and Leadville.
Tennessee Pass
Tennessee Pass
Between Minturn and Leadville, it is also the site of the Ski Cooper slopes.
Twining Peak
Twining Peak
A 13er peak north of Independence Pass.
Independence Pass
Independence Pass
Between Twin Lakes and Aspen.
Hagerman Pass
Hagerman Pass
Lesser known pass near Turquoise Lake in Lake County.
Pass West of Turner Peak
Unnamed pass between Cottonwood Pass and Turner Peak. Divides Osbourne Creek and South Texas Creek gulches.
Cottonwood Pass
Between Buena Vista and Taylor Park Reservoir.
Unnamed Peak 12,792'
Unnamed peak approximately 1.5 miles south of Cottonwood Pass.
Mt. Kreutzer
A 13er peak between Cottonwood Pass and Tincup Pass, it is commonly accessed via Mineral Basin.
Emma Burr Mountain
Another majestic 13er accessed via Mineral Basin.
Tincup Pass
Tincup Pass
Between the towns of St. Elmo and Tincup.
Old Monarch Pass
Old Monarch Pass
Located north of Monarch Pass and close to Monarch Mountain ski area.
Monarch Pass
Monarch Pass
Between Gunnison and Salida.
Marhsall Pass
Marshall Pass
The pass for an old railroad grade. Between Poncha Springs and Sargeants.
North Cochetopa Pass
Between Saguache and Gunnison.
Wolf Creek Pass
Between South Fork and Pagosa Springs.

New Mexico

State Highway 12
State Highway 12 Between Aragon and Horse Springs.
Pinos Altos, NM
In Pinos Altos.
Highway 180 in Silver City
State Highway 180 in Silver City.
Highway 90 in Silver City
State Highway 90 in Silver City.
Interstate 10
Interstate 10 in Southwest New Mexico.

Canada and Mexico

I currently do not have photos of the Continental Divide outside of the United States.
Have photos? Send them to steve garufi (no space) at juno dot com for consideration! -Steve

Related Links And Links Of Interest - Provides the best information about Colorado's 54 "fourteener" mountains.

Cottonwood Pass - Photos and information for Cottownood Pass, Colorado.

St. Elmo, Colorado - A historic ghost town near Tincup Pass in Chaffee County, CO.

Continental Divide Trail - Long-term trail building project.

Copyright © - All rights reserved