Isa Lake

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Isa Lake
Isa Lake YNP1.jpg
Isa Lake
Location Yellowstone National Park, Teton County, Wyoming, US
Coordinates 44°26′27″N 110°43′09″W / 44.44083°N 110.71917°W / 44.44083; -110.71917Coordinates: 44°26′27″N 110°43′09″W / 44.44083°N 110.71917°W / 44.44083; -110.71917[1]
Type Natural lake
Basin countries United States
Surface elevation 8,262 feet (2,518 m)[1]

Isa Lake is located in Yellowstone National Park, in the U.S. state of Wyoming.[2] The lake straddles the continental divide at Craig Pass and was first discovered in 1891 by Hiram M. Chittenden, who was exploring the best routes for a road to connect Old Faithful and West Thumb geyser basins. Chittenden named the lake after Miss Isabel Jelke, from Cincinnati, though it is not clear why.[3][4]

Map of Continental Divide at Isa Lake

Isa Lake is believed to be the only natural lake in the world which drains to two different oceans.[3] (For similar cases see List of unusual drainage systems.) The east side of the lake drains by way of the Lewis River to the Pacific Ocean and the west side of the lake drains by way of the Firehole River to the Atlantic Ocean.[5] This is the opposite of what one would expect since the Atlantic Ocean is east of the lake and the Pacific Ocean is to the west.

The lake is easy to visit as it is adjacent to the road that now connects the Old Faithful and West Thumb geysers basins, on what is known as the "lower loop" of the figure-eight roadway which traverses through Yellowstone.

Images of Isa Lake
Isa Lake, 1921 
Isa Lake on Craig Pass Road 
Isa Lake 


  1. ^ a b "Isa Lake". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ "Craig Pass, USGS Craig Pass (WY) Topo Map" (Map). TopoQuest USGS Quads. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  3. ^ a b "Isa Lake". Grant Area Natural Highlights. National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-08-04. 
  4. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 166. 
  5. ^ "Isa Lake". Retrieved 2012-08-04.