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What Is The Continental Divide?

The Continental Divide of the Americas is a mountain ridge that divides the flow of water between the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean. It is also known as the Great Divide because it is the largest on any continent. It is 6,745 miles long and includes Alaska, Canada, the continental United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America. Rain or snow that drains on the east side of the Continental Divide flows toward the Atlantic Ocean while precipitation on the west side drains and flows toward the Pacific Ocean. No rivers cross the Great Divide. In the continental United States, the Continental Divide follows the crest of the Rocky Mountains through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico and is made up of over 100 separate mountain ranges.

Exploration of the Rocky Mountains began in 1540, by the Spanish explorer Francisco Vázquez de Coronado. The first non-native American settlement of the area begin in 1802 and in the 1840s thousands of people passed through the Rocky Mountains on the Oregon Trail. Mining, agriculture, and forestry are major industries and every year millions of tourists visit the Rocky Mountains for their scenic views and outdoor recreational opportunities. Sounds like a perfect place for a little hike!