Tri-Basin Divide Wyoming: The Headwaters to Wyoming’s Wild Cutthroat Paradise

TRI-BASIN DIVIDE Map Illustration by Daphne Gillam

This is an “oldie but good” from the folks at Big Sky Journal recollection of a trip I have been dreaming about for some time now. The Tri-Basin Divide is the only place in the world you can catch 3 different species of West Slope Cutthroat Trout within relatively close distance to each other. Wild beyond belief, the divide is made of expansive vistas protruding over 11,000 feet in the horizon, creating the unspoiled venue in which these diligent survivalists maintain one of the last wild cutthroat strongholds.

The Headwaters to Wyoming’s Wild Cutthroat Paradise | Big Sky Journal


ATOP THE 8,680-FOOT HIGH Tri-Basin Divide, life was good. Depending on the prevailing winds, rain from puffy cumulus clouds above could drop into any one of the three watersheds below us, each sheltering its own variety of cutthroat trout. The Tri-Basin vicinity is a unique piece of the West’s bio-geography: It’s arguably the best place in the world for anglers to tempt three distinct types of native cutts, living within a few miles of each other.

My wife, Mary, and I were beginning a back-roads cutthroat safari through southwest Wyoming. To the north, the headwaters of the beautiful Greys River dropped sharply off the divide, slicing a deep path between the Wyoming and Salt River Ranges. Heading to the Pacific Ocean via the Snake and Columbia Rivers, the Greys remains a stronghold for Snake River fine spotted cutthroats.”

The Vast Reaches of the Tri-Basin Divide

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