There’s Something Totally Unique About This Unassuming Yellowstone Lake

There’s a hidden lake in Yellowstone National Park that has a truly strange claim to fame.

Isa Lake is located on the loop highway between Old Faithful geyser and Yellowstone Lake. Most people pass it without notice on their way to the park’s more famous attractions. However, this little lake is pretty special.

Isa Lake actually drains backwards. The narrow pond is unique in that it can either feed into the Pacific Ocean or the distant Atlantic Ocean. That’s right – the spring meltwater from this tiny lake ends up traveling thousands of miles and merging with both oceans.

Why this unusual setup? Isa Lake is situated right on top of the Continental Divide, resulting in this odd drainage situation. Water from the west end of the lake will make its way to the Firehole River and on to the Mississippi Delta and the Atlantic Ocean. Water from the east end will feed into Shoshone Lake, which winds up draining to the Pacific through the Snake and Columbia Rivers.

Even if you’re not concerned with where its waters are ending up, Isa Lake is still a beautiful un-sung gem of the park. Frequently choked with water lilies and surrounded by quiet woodland, it would make a beautiful picnic spot for visitors from anywhere between the shining seas.

For more of America’s most beautiful lakes, check out some of the most gorgeous sapphire lakes in the country.