The Eastern Divide

The Continental Divide of North America is well known for its rugged peaks and high passes. But there is a lesser known and more subtle divide in the eastern U.S., which separates the streams flowing toward the Gulf of Mexico from those draining to the Atlantic.

After snaking across the arrowhead of Minnesota, the Eastern Divide loops past Duluth and heads across northern Wisconsin. Turning south, it passes between the watersheds of the Wisconsin River and Lake Michigan, curves through Metro Chicago and hugs the northern edge of northwest Indiana; the Divide then dips toward Lima, Ohio, below the watersheds of the St. Joseph and Maumee Rivers. Crossing northern Ohio, this line of high ground passes north of Youngstown, cuts the northwest corner of Pennsylvania and loops through southwest New York, following the edge of the Allegheny River watershed. Angling to the southwest, the Divide climbs atop the Allegheny Front of Pennsylvania and then forms the west edge of the Potomac River watershed in Maryland and West Virginia. Entering Virginia, it follows the crest of the Appalachian Mountains as far south as northern Georgia.

Winding southward through the Peach State, the Eastern Divide passes near Atlanta and then angles southeastward toward Waycross, Georgia. There it continues southward between the watersheds of the Suwanee and St. John Rivers and snakes down the Florida Peninsula to Lake Okeechobee; south of the Lake, the Everglades diffuse the flow between the southeastern Gulf Coast and the Florida Strait. Following the Eastern Divide from Minnesota to Florida would surely be an interesting journey and would introduce the traveller to most natural ecosystems of the eastern U.S.