The Snake River begins as a series of springs and rivulets that come together under the crest of the Continental Divide, due south of Yellowstone Lake and just barely within the park. A multitude of other creeks, both in and south of the park, start in the same general Two Ocean Plateau area. Flowing west and northwest, these streams gradually come together across the south end of Yellowstone National Park. Upon picking up the Heart River, the Snake takes an abrupt jog and heads southwest.
A second major tributary, the Lewis River, joins the Snake just above its exit from Yellowstone at the South Entrance. Now flowing south, the river loses itself in Jackson Lake. Besides the Heart and Lewis Rivers, this drainage includes three of the four largest lakes in the park and a number of other tributary streams. The name Snake appears to have been derived from the sign-language symbol for the Shoshone Tribe of Native Americans who inhabited the region. At least part of the river had been named Snake by 1812. This eTrail contains information on Snake River (Headwaters to Heart River, Heart River to Lewis River, Lewis River to Jackson Lake), Mariposa Lake, Heart Lake, Beaver Creek, Heart River, Outlet Creek Drainage, Wolverine Creek Drainage, Polecat Creek, and Glade Creek.
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