The Snake River starts in Yellowstone National Park and wraps through Grand Teton National Park for 50 miles out of its total 1,056 miles—414 miles are celebrated as wild and scenic. It feeds into Jackson Lake before going on through Bridger-Teton National Forest. The Snake River was named after the Snake Indians (Shoshone) around 1812 and has had many names; there are even names for different parts of the river. It is the largest tributary (feeder river) of the Columbia River, which is famous for being the largest river in the Pacific Northwest. There are many recreational opportunities that the Snake River provides, including fishing, rafting, wildlife spotting and sight-seeing. Ansel Adams even visited the Snake River and took the famous picture, “The Tetons and Snake River.”
The Snake River is unique because the river is a result of the Two Ocean Plateau on the Continental Divide where two creeks, the Atlantic Creek and the Pacific Creek, split off from Two Ocean Creek and feed into their corresponding oceans: the Atlantic and the Pacific. The Snake River is fed by the Pacific Creek, eventually making it to the Oregon coast via the Columbia River. Jim Bridger, a mountain man, was the one that found this “northwest passage” in 1827 after people had been searching for a path flowing from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans for centuries to no avail. However, it could not benefit North American commerce because of this geographic phenomenon causing the water to flow in opposite directions. Jefferson’s Lewis and Clark expedition along with the many others searches for a connection between the Atlantic and Pacific did not account for this possibility. Fish are the only ones who can use this passageway, this is also how the Cutthroat trout and other fish species came to Yellowstone.
Written by Celia Karim
PC: weesam2010 on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/YcgPfo