Ice ax: Might be necessary for certain areas of the CDT at the start or finish and also the San Juan mountains of Colorado. I carried two 1-liter smart water bottles and a two and a half liter water bag. Reflective umbrella: I'd always thought umbrellas for hiking are unnecessary but I really enjoyed having a. Hiking the Continental Divide Trail is no walk in the park. The navigation itself is not the same as on the AT or PCT where you can always have your head down and follow a well-trodden and blazed trail. From the Anaconda Mountain Range to Waterton Lake / Chief mountain and the border of Canada. Of course, if you are looking for a social hike, the CDT isn't really the trail. Prices for resupply and motels varied from state to state. It is concurrent with the Colorado Trail for approximately 200 miles (320 km). The Guthook app allowed us to easily follow a GPS track should the trail be hard to find or nonexistent. There are a few different alternates that can be taken on the trail although there is a generally accepted official route. Although not strictly “completed”, the trail came into existence in the seventies with the first person recording a thru-hike in 1977. While hiking to Mt Ida, you really feel like you are walking on top of the world. Dave Odell thru-hiked in 1977 and in the same year Dan Torpey hiked from the NM/CO border to Mt Robson, B.C. Undeterred by injuries that would cripple most men, a Colorado hiker nears the halfway point in a pioneering attempt to thru-hike the true crest of the Continental Divide. It protected me from the bugs, rain, snow, and cold temperatures. Heck, the trail isn’t even finished yet. In Idaho, hikers are often following a fence line and hiking across rolling hills with views far off to the horizon. Like the rest of you planning to do any sort of backpacking, I dialed in my gear, spent lots of $$$, and accomplished the hardest part of it all: telling worried family and friends. Continental Divide Trail Statistics. On my hike of the Continental Divide Trail, I saw a grizzly bear, black bears, moose, coyote, small mammals, and a lone wolf in the single coolest wildlife interaction I’ve ever had. Bear hangs/lockers/canisters are only a requirement in the national parks along the trail. In the group, we also had Ley's Maps (as in Jonathan Ley) and Yogi's guidebooks for towns and resupply options. Since 2019 it’s necessary to obtain a Recreational Access Permit to hike through New Mexico. In this extended online interview, Dunmire talks about his gear essentials, near misses, and the challenges that lay ahead as he continues to trace North America's spine. This year, we are planning to for our longest hike … The CDT is a geologist’s dream. Buying food beforehand was cheaper and enabled me to have the food I liked. Step 3) Click on the three white vertical dots and then "Print Map" from that drop down menu. It is a wonderful, challenging adventure that you should approach with excitement. [9] Andrew Skurka completed the trail as part of the 6,875-mile Great Western Loop in 2007. [19], Long-distance scenic trail in the western United States. Because of the incomplete nature of the Continental Divide Trail, the route is somewhat open to interpretation. Many areas use the official CDT symbol blazes but you can’t rely on them. It is brought to you by The Continental Divide Trail Coalition, Atlas Guides, and Sawyer. My Continental Divide Trail Hike I hope to hike the Continental Divide Trail in the near future. El Paso is the closest reachable by a 3 and 1/2 hour bus ride. However, oftentimes, you would have to go to the Post Office (a hassle). Gila River - This unique section of the CDT is actually an alternate but you should definitely do it. The Continental Divide Trail is the least visited of the three Triple Crown trails in the US. Fuck paved road walks, don't kill your feet to add/save some miles. Length:2700 - 3150 miles (depending on route) Time to hike:5-6 months Start and end points: 1. It is a hodgepodge of smaller trails, dirt roads, paved roads, and GPS waypoints. Similar to the Pacific Crest Trail, the CDT towns are fairly far apart. The Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) has released an updated statement with guidance for hiking along the CDT this year. Eventually, the trail starts heading northeast into Montana proper through the Anaconda Mountain Range. The trail has a lot of beautiful sections with lots of trail bullshit between. While the Appalachian Trail (AT) and Pacific Crest Trail receive thousands of people attempting thru-hikes each year, the Continental Divide Trail hosts around 200. On May 4, Williams started walking north along the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), in Lordsburg, New Mexico, about 100 miles north of the Mexican border. There is no purism on the CDT. Advanced map reading and navigation skills are NOT necessary for the CDT. I wish the CDT spent more time in them. It feels like every plant wants to stick to you or scratch you. It will require some four to five months of trekking to finish the entire trail. Water containers: There are some long stretches where you need to carry a good amount of water with you. [13] Local volunteer groups place water caches (usually a pile of plastic gallon jugs) at strategic points along the trail. On my thru-hike of the CDT in 2017, our group used the Guthook App and it worked flawlessly. However, having boxes in some of the small towns and resupply points on the CDT was very nice as your options were limited and prices were often high. Missoula has a good airport with many connecting flights daily. From the Idaho Border in West Yellowstone to the Anaconda Mountain Range. [10], The youngest person to thru-hike the trail is Reed Gjonnes, who hiked the trail with her father Eric Gjonnes from April 15, 2013 to September 6, 2013 in one continuous northbound hike at the age of 13.[11][12]. It’s astounding. It stretches roughly 3,000 miles from Mexico to Canada, paralleling the Continental Divide the whole way. Prepare to be wowed by the Winds and try to avoid the crowds in Yellowstone. Lordsburg is the nearest town to the Southern Terminus and the shuttle will pick you up from there. The CDT is by far the most rugged of the three, bei… Of all the five states traversed by the CDT, Wyoming has the most diverse terrain. Otherwise, the official route takes you on the Butte Circle which does a weird unnecessary loop around the town of Butte. Foreword by Steve Dudley, Executive Director of the Continental Divide Trail Alliance. In Montana it crosses Triple Divide Pass (near Triple Divide Peak which separates the Arctic Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean drainages.) Otherwise, there was plentiful camping alongside the trail. Desert hiking conjures thoughts of a lifeless hot, barren place and this is only partly true. New Mexico is considered the desert section of the CDT. Abundant wildlife, rugged terrain in the remote Bob Marshall Wilderness, and Montana deserves its title of big sky country. Approximately 110 miles (177 km) of the CDT traverses Glacier National Park. There are some trail angels on the CDT and we did get trail magic once or twice alongside cached water, especially down in New Mexico. Either way, Glacier National Park is beautiful. Don't forget them! The Continental Divide Trail leads from the Mexican border to the Canadian Border. But, it is not the same established culture as the other two Triple Crown trails. This should be balanced with Colorado's 'monsoon season' with afternoon thunderstorms that usually occur in late July and August. So, there is not a major advantage in going northbound or southbound. It should only be taken if absolutely necessary as the San Juan's are incredibly beautiful and shouldn't be missed. 5 States, 148 Hiking Days, 25 Supply Points, 130 Maps br>A how-to adventure for both armchair and real-life hikers. Equal parts backpacking food and ultralight gear. Ley's maps and Yogi's handbooks are great to have along as they have more detailed information on alternate routes and towns/resupply. The Crazy Cook Monument is the most commonly recognized starting or finishing point of the Continental Divide Trail, but due to its remote location, devoid of any lodging or other services, Columbus is considered a legitimate alternate starting or finishing point for those hiking or biking the CDT. As mentioned above you’ll deal with blazing sunshine, snow, below-freezing temperatures, rain, summer thunderstorms, and bugs. The three nearest major cities are El Paso, TX, Phoenix, AZ, and Albuquerque, NM. Soak in hot springs and try not to smile. It flew by on my thru-hike in 2017 and it is one of the areas I’m most desperate to return to. Additional notable features in Wyoming include: Northbounders leaving Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming enter the Centennial Mountains of Idaho. [17] Some stretches of the CDT in Colorado are still a wilderness footpath. We did it and I highly recommend it. If you're looking for a more solitary wilderness experience then southbound would be your best bet. Southern terminus - most people hike from the official southern terminus at crazy cook. Grays Peak - The highest point on the CDT at 14,278 ft. Getting to the top of this peak gives a great sense of achievement and once you’ve caught you breathe, you can drink in the epic views. The CDT in New Mexico is about 700 miles (1,100 km) long and some portions have very limited water. [2], In 2007, Francis Tapon became the first person to do a round backpacking trip "yo-yo" on the Continental Divide Trail when he thru-hiked from Mexico to Canada and back to Mexico along the CDT and needed seven months to finish it. Hikers must decide on a route with regard to the Great Divide Basin since the actual Continental Divide forks in southern Wyoming, forming an endorheic basin. This comes at no extra cost to you. Prepare to night-hike. Portions designated as uncompleted must be traveled by roadwalking on dirt or paved roads. (March 2008) "There & Back Again", Bastone, Kelly (August 2008) "Taking the High Way: Thru-hiking the Continental Divide Trail,", Bob Julyan, Tom Till, William Stone (2001), , "The Onion vs. Mr. Magoo - On your mark, get set ... hike. They do exist but many are gross, to say the least. Columbus is listed as a National Historic Landmark due to the invasion in 1916 by Pancho Villa and his "Villistas". Since it's right down the middle of the country, maybe someone would like to join me? There are of course places to buy food, motels to sleep in and bars to drink in. The weather conditions that northbounders and southbounders face are somewhat similar, but will be found in different times/parts of the trail. You’ll also have to carry up to 6 days of food on the CDT. Keep your eye out for cool alternates, there's a lot. Want to contribute to the water report? Due care should be taken when hitchhiking and whilst in town. Additional notable points on the CDT in Montana include: The Montana Wilderness Association is the leading non-profit partner for the northern section of Continental Divide Trail. [14][15] Three southern termini of the trail exist: 1) Crazy Cook Monument, the official CDT southern terminus, east of the Big Hatchet Mountains, 2) Antelope Wells, New Mexico and 3) near Columbus, New Mexico. A lot of the CDT is road walking or hiking on other trails that use a different blazing system. Southern terminus: Crazy Cook Monument 2. Chris also wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail. The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail is a 3,100-mile (4,989-kilometer) hiking trail that passes from the border of Mexico to Canada through the Rocky Mountains. By the end of the trip, I was fed up with all the food in my boxes. One alternate if you want to avoid paying for the shuttle or you want a little less hassle is to hike from the town of Columbus. Aim for a base weight around the 15 lbs mark. Only about two hundred people a year attempt to hike the entire trail, taking about six months to complete it. It's reassuring to have. The grand finale is Yellowstone National Park where the CDT is routed from Yellowstone's southern back country, to Old Faithful and then exits west to Idaho. Waterton lake has you going into Canada but is often closed for Northbounders due to fires. Don't be too worried about the permits for the CDT, it is a relatively hassle-free process. I carried a small compass—as did many of our group—but I don't think it came out of my backpack a single time. If you are really short on time, this is an option. Glacier National Park - One of the gems of the Continental Divide Trail. The village has two museums and a state park commemorating Pancho Villa's raid and the so-called Punitive Mexican Expedition led by US Army General "Blackjack" Pershing, who attempted, but failed to capture him. Affiliate disclosure: We aim to provide honest information to our readers. In exchange for referring sales, we may receive a small commission through affiliate links. Rarely do you walk right through them as you do on the AT. I believe the Guthook App and Yogi's guidebook get you 95% ready when planning your hike. Notable points on the CDT in Idaho include: The Montana portion of the CDT is almost entirely in mountain ranges, running along the Idaho border in the southern portion, before heading east toward Butte and north toward Glacier National Park via the Lewis and Clark National Forest and two National Wilderness areas. For much of this hike you walk along the Continental Divide, so you have panoramic views across the park. The Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) is the 501 (c) (3) national non-profit working in partnership with the US Forest Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management to complete, promote and protect the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. We did find it quite difficult to organize permits for Glacier National Park and Yellowstone, but we were traveling in quite a large group. Don’t carry it the whole time, ask someone at home to ship it out. Yellowstone - The Country’s’ first national park gets busy for a reason. At 2,800 miles (4,500km) in length (give or take, there’s actually some debate here), the Continental Divide Trail (CDT, for short) is often considered the most challenging of the “Triple Crown” of long distance hiking trails in the united States. Striking cliffs, disappearing trail, and wet feet characterize the upper portion of the Gila River alternate The gold of fall foliage is one of the treasures found during late season hiking in Colorado On the afternoon of 21 November, surrounded by desert and rainbows, under a … Get ready for the hardest and least fun trail. More information can be found here. From here, at an elevation of 12,899 feet, the entire park stretches out before you. All these major cities offer connecting flights around the US or further afield. It is more rugged hiking and skips some of the boring sections of Idaho. Most people that tackle the CDT will probably have done the AT or PCT before and should have a good idea of their gear requirements. Additional points of interest along the Colorado CDT include:[18]. Here are the main ones. Located 3 miles from the International Port of Entry at Palomas, Mexico, Columbus is a small border village with several amenities including two modest hotels, a gas station, a handful of small cafes, a US Post Office, a bank, auto mechanics, and grocery stores. Northbounders finish their hikes with a bang in Glacier National Park. Hikers on the CDT will deal with an array of different weather scenarios, from harsh sun exposure to freezing cold temperatures. Elevation along the Continental Divide Trail ranges from around 4,000 to 14,000 feet. Get epic tips, guides and how-to's in your inbox every two weeks. Whether headed Northbound or southbound, snow is the major deciding factor in planning your departure time. The CDT does not have a single permit that thru-hikers need to obtain before hiking like on the PCT. Continental Divide Trail Culture. All three are located within New Mexico's boot heel. Since 2019 it’s necessary to obtain a Recreational Access Permit to hike through New Mexico. Lastly, you'll have to take normal precautions against rattlesnakes and other wildlife. That's considerable compared to the Appalachian Trail where you often walk into town or the trail is very nearby. This seven-month journey spanned over 5,600 miles. The CDT is by far the most rugged of the three, being only 70% fully completed with a lot of portions of road walking and off-trail travel. Great Divide Basin - Love it or hate, most hikers won’t forget The Basin. You need to be prepared for all kinds of weather on the Continental divide trail. We only saw one Grizzly from a distance but many hikers see a lot more. From Crazy Creek Monument and the border of Mexico to Cumbres Pass/Chama. Snow and rugged terrain is the major difficulty of Colorado, especially in the San Juan's. The journey from Lordsburg to the terminus is a rough and rugged one with a four-wheel vehicle required. Very few people still hike the trail to this day with an estimated 200 people starting the trail per year. I never had any real problems but some of the towns on the Continental Divide Trail are poor rural towns. It was not as bad as we anticipated though. It also passes through much more remote and rugged terrain than the other two trails. Most hikers will choose to hike the Gila River wilderness, a beautiful winding section of the trail that follows the Gila River. It gets even better once you reach the summit of Mt Ida. 120ish miles of brutal desert hiking with very little water. Chief Mountain is a little bit more accessible. Sweeping valleys and high mountain pass with Elk call echoing throughout. The CDT, alongside the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail make up the triple crown of hiking. Thru-hiking the CDT is an adventure of a lifetime, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Its entire length traverses the Great Divide through five states, namely Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. This will avoid unnecessary wear and tear on your joints and your morale. Chinese Wall - This imposing monolith comes up out of nowhere and is one of the most photographed spots on the CDT. Northbounders will usually start towards the end of April so as to not arrive too early in the San Juan mountains and deal with heavy snow. These permits can be organized well in advance but that is very impractical on a thru-hike. States: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico: Distance: These two alternates will add in difficult mileage but reward you with epic views. The CDT is the longest and most rugged of America’s long-distance hiking trails. MWA staff are working to connect the 980 miles (1,580 km) of CDT in Montana and Idaho with the help of dedicated volunteers and agency partners. 41 Backpacking Food Ideas from the Appalachian Trail, Ultralight Backpacking Gear List | 8.5 lb Base Weight (Full Comfort), 14 Best Ultralight Backpacking Tents in 2020, 14 Best Ultralight Backpacking Sleeping Bags for 2020, Warm gear: we dealt with lots of cold nights. The trail is most commonly hiked from South to North starting at the Mexican border. The only places it was necessary to reserve camping were in Glacier National Park and Yellowstone, as previously discussed. Rawlins Road walk (to avoid the Great Basin) - Plenty of Hikers take the Road walk instead of hiking through the Basin, this is because there is more water available on the road. This will be a long section of road walking. He completed the AT in 2015 and the CDT in 2017.About Greenbelly: After thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Chris Cage created Greenbelly to provide fast, filling and balanced meals to backpackers. The Creede Cut Off -  Unfortunately, many hikers have to take this alternate to avoid heavy snow or potentially fires in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. SOUTHERN TERMINUS: Most people will arrive at the southern terminus via the CDT Coalition Shuttle. A Kalispell woman spent the past five months largely avoiding the pandemic and politics by hiking the Continental Divide Trail from Mexico to Canada. The red rocks and colors of the sand and surroundings (especially during twilight) are beautiful. In  2017, my resupplies were about 50% boxes and 50% resupplies bought in town. Hitchhiking from the trail into towns is a difficult and long process. From the Wyoming border in the Mt Zirkel Wilderness to the Idaho Border in West Yellowstone. I carried a single wall, trekking pole tent with a built-in bathtub floor and highly recommend that. Hiking the Continental Divide Trail: One Woman's Journey is the story of their incredible summer and is filled with courage, humor, stunning scenery, local personalities and the simple joys of backpacking. High mountain passes, colorful desert washes, and everything in between. Rarely will you be bored or unimpressed by your surroundings. It left me with a profound feeling of awe … NORTHERN TERMINUS: The Waterton Lake terminus or Chief Mountain terminus can be reached from East Glacier Montana on the US side via regular shuttle buses. Hike the Divide is a feature-length documentary that follows jaded millennial Connor DeVane 2,700 miles from Canada to Mexico on the Continental Divide Trail as he seeks hope in the face of climate breakdown. The Indian Peaks Wilderness and Rocky Mountain National Park require overnight camping permits if you sleep in those areas. The Creede Cut-off in the San Juan Mountains to avoid persistent snow or unfavorable weather is such an example. Resupply logistics of a thru-hike are also a little more complicated. Don’t worry and don’t plan too much though. It’s the highest, most remote, and, in many ways, most challenging of our National Scenic Trails. But, we often waited a while and the car rides from the trailhead into the town were often 20+ minutes long. Northbound Hikers leave Wyoming in West Yellowstone and start following the Idaho/Montana boundary. It was designated a National Scenic Trail in 1978. We hiked the Anaconda cut off in 2017, I enjoyed the town and I would recommend it. Avoid the crowded spots by passing through very early or once everyone’s gone home. Follow good practices in the backcountry and smaller critters shouldn’t be an issue. The Rocky Mountains are what really stand out about the Colorado Section of the Continental Divide Trail. Some are there to seemingly facilitate skipping huge portions of the primary route. Hikers are often forced to take the Creede Cutoff to skip heavy snow and potentially dangerous conditions in the San Juan's. We hiked it in 2017 and it was one of the most memorable parts of my thru-hike. Those who succeed find 3,100 miles of stunning scenery, diverse ecosystems, welcoming communities, and self-discovery. Rain, snow and frequent summer thunderstorms are all possible. More information here. But, don’t let that stop you. To most regular folks, traveling that sort of distance on foot with your possessions on your back sounds like a form of torture. Continental Divide Trail Association A coalition that “connects the community that supports the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.” Guthooks CDT App From the makers of the well-known PCT and AT apps, this app for the Android and iOS platforms make use of Bear Creek’s maps, along with trail information. The Continental Divide Trail Survey is the successor to the Pacific Crest Trail Hiker Survey and began following my (first) CDT thru-hike in 2017.. As was the case with the PCT, I struggled to find a lot of CDT-related information when planning my hike (or at least while attempting to plan my hike). Farther north the CDT traverses the mountainous 'bench' of the Wind River Range and then through the Absaroka Range in the northwest portion of the state. He hikes all over the world and has way too many action figures for a man of his age. Get yourself a slice! PIE Town - I don’t love this place just because we share a name. There are areas where water sources are very few and far between and it’s necessary to drink from some less than desirable sources. Wyoming on the CDT is a mixture of classic National Parks and open range with little water and rolling terrain. Winds - Probably my favorite area of the CDT. As mentioned, the CDT is not officially “complete”. From the Crazy Cook Monument (the official southern terminus), the trail begins as a cross-country desire path; the official route up to Lordsburg will be surveyed based around this path at a future date. The Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) estimates that as of December 2015, 85 percent of the trail is completed. There are some stretches with few water sources which means you'll have to carry plenty of water. [8] Tapon took the most circuitous, scenic, high, difficult route north and while returning south, took the more expedient route. In addition, it is an invaluable resource for those planning their own section- or thru-hike of the CDT. That was plenty. A few stretches of the CDT in Colorado have no distinct marked or named trail, but Jonathan Ley's or Jim Wolf's maps are helpful. The notes and comments are not as plentiful and up to date as the PCT Guthook App, but they offer decent insights. This makes the whole experience on the CDT a much more lonesome and solitary experience compared with the Pacific Crest Trail or the Appalachian Trail. The Continental Divide Trail (CDT) March 6, 2020 by SweetPea After a crazy busy and often stressful winter, we are ready to feel the trail under our feet, gaze at a night sky full of stars, and see some new parts of the US by foot again. Ghost Ranch - Most people hike to Ghost Ranch to pick up a re-supply. Anaconda Cut-off - This alternate skips about 90 miles and has you walking directly through the cool town of Anaconda. A Note on Water: Like a lot of things in the long-distance hiking world. Notable points on the CDT in New Mexico include: The CDT passes through many of the highest and wildest mountain regions of Colorado, such as the San Juan Mountains in southern Colorado and the Sawatch Range in the central region. Gila River Wilderness -  The official route through the Black Mountains Is meant to be quite beautiful. 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