The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (in short Continental Divide Trail (CDT)) is a United States National Scenic Trail running 3,100 miles (5,000 km) between Mexico and Canada. It follows the Continental Divide of the Americas along the Rocky Mountains and traverses five U.S. states — Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. In Montana it crosses Triple Divide Pass (near Triple Divide Peak which separates the Hudson Bay, Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean drainages.) The trail is a combination of dedicated trails and small roads and considered 70% complete. Portions designated as uncompleted must be traveled by roadwalking on dirt or paved roads. This trail can be continued north into Canada to Kakwa Lake north of Jasper National Park by the Great Divide Trail.
|Continental Divide Trail|
|Length||3100 mi (4989 km)|
|Designation||National Scenic Trail in 1978|
|Trailheads||Northern: Waterton Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana at the U.S.–Canada border|
Southern: Crazy Cook Monument, Big Hatchet Mountains, New Mexico at the U.S.–Mexico border
some Horse riding
some Mountain biking
|Highest point||Grays Peak, Colorado, 14,278 ft (4,352 m)|
|Lowest point||Columbus, New Mexico, 3,900 ft (1,200 m)|
|Months||April to October|
Only about two hundred people a year attempt to hike the entire trail, taking about six months to complete it. Dave Odell thru-hiked in 1977 and in the same year Dan Torpey hiked from the NM/CO border to Mt Robson, Canada. German long-distance rider Günter Wamser (on his way from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska), and Austrian Sonja Endlweber (who joined him for the rest of the journey from Mexico) managed to complete the tour with four Bureau of Land Management mustangs in three summers 2007–09.
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. This seven-month journey spanned over 5,600 miles. Tapon took the most circuitous, scenic, high, difficult route north and while returning south, took the more expedient route. Andrew Skurka completed the trail as part of the 6,875-mile Great Western Loop in 2007.
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.
The CDT in New Mexico is about 700 miles (1,100 km) long and some portions have very limited water. Local volunteer groups place water caches (usually a pile of plastic gallon jugs) at strategic points along the trail. 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. All three are located within New Mexico's boot heel. The terminus near Columbus is not on the Continental Divide (see Animas Mountains) but rather in the vicinity of Columbus, a village that is also the northern terminus of the annual 250-mile (400 km) Cabalgata Binacional Villista.
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. 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. Columbus is listed as a National Historic Landmark due to the invasion in 1916 by Pancho Villa and his "Villistas". 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.
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. From Columbus, the route is a roadwalk to Lordsburg.
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. In most areas the trail is well marked. It is concurrent with the Colorado Trail for approximately 200 miles (320 km). The CDT itself meanders in Colorado some 650 miles (1,050 km) at higher altitudes. Depending on any given year's snow-pack and a hiker's individual schedule, alternative routes are available. The Creede Cut-off in the San Juan Mountains to avoid persistent snow or unfavorable weather is such an example. This should be balanced with Colorado's 'monsoon season' with afternoon thunderstorms that usually occur in late July and August. The route's location makes short side trips to many of Colorado's 14,000-foot (4,300 m) peaks feasible. 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. Some stretches of the CDT in Colorado are still a wilderness footpath.
Additional points of interest along the Colorado CDT include:
Of all the five states traversed by the CDT, Wyoming has the most diverse terrain. This includes hiking through a large section of range-land in the middle of the state, known as the Great Divide Basin. Hikers must decide on a route with regard to the Great Divide Basin since the actual Continental Divide forks in southern Wyoming forming in an endorheic basin. The shortest route is through the middle where water availability is uncertain in most years. 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. 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.
Additional notable features in Wyoming include:
Northbounders leaving Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming enter the Centennial Mountains of Idaho. For the next couple of hundred miles, the CDT follows the Continental Divide, which is also the boundary between Idaho and Montana. Next the Trail diverts east through the Anaconda Mountain Range toward Butte, Montana.
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. Approximately 110 miles (177 km) of the CDT traverses Glacier National Park.
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. 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.
Big Hole Pass (el. 7,055 feet (2,150 m)) is a high mountain pass on the Montana Idaho border approximately 8 miles due south of Montana State Highway 43 in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Beaverhead County, Montana and Salmon National Forest, Lemhi County, Idaho. This location should not be confused with a sign on Montana Highway 278 at the height of land west of Dillon, Montana that denotes the eastern entrance to the Big Hole valley.
The Continental Divide Trail goes over this pass which is about 11 miles south southeast of the more famous Chief Joseph Pass. The Pass can be approached on a Forest Service road, Dahlonega Creek Road (079), from the west, or Forest Service Road #943 from Highway 43 from the east.
On their return trip the Lewis & Clark Expedition
separated at Travelers Rest in Idaho. On July 3, 1806, Meriwether Lewis headed
north to explore the Marias River while William Clark headed up the Bitterroot River with 50 men, Sacagawea and her baby. They crossed Big Hole Pass on their way to their cache of supplies at Camp Fortunate.Brian Robinson (hiker)
Brian Robinson is a competitive distance hiker and long-distance runner, holding multiple world-firsts and ultramarathon world records. Robinson was the first person to hike the Triple Crown of Hiking (Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and Continental Divide Trail) in one year, a total distance of over 7,000 miles.Bridger Pass
Bridger Pass is a mountain pass in Carbon County, Wyoming on the Continental Divide near the south Great Divide Basin bifurcation point, i.e., the point at which the divide appears to split and envelop the basin.
The first documented crossing of Bridger Pass was by the Stansbury Expedition, returning east from an expedition to Utah and guided by Jim Bridger. A decade later the pass was in regular use by travelers on the Overland Trail and the associated stage line, these having been established along the route described by Stansbury and known since that time as the Cherokee Trail. To support the stage line, the Bridger Stage Station was established near the pass. The Overland Trail was used steadily between 1860 and 1869 until the First Transcontinental Railroad made the stage line obsolete.
In modern times, the official route of the Continental Divide Trail uses Bridger Pass Road to Navigate the Great Divide Basin between Battle Pass on Wyoming Highway 70 to Rawlins, Wyoming. A challenge to hikers is the lack of potable water along this section due to the brackish nature (salinity) of water in the basin.Chama River Canyon Wilderness
Congress created the Chama River Canyon Wilderness in New Mexico in February 1978. The wilderness area covers approximately 50,300 acres (20,356 ha) on the Coyote Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest and the Carson National Forest.The water in the Rio Chama brings the canyon area to life. Lush vegetation that supports abundant wildlife contrasts with the seemingly bare rocky slopes that lead to the mesa tops.
The wilderness area surrounds much private property along the waterways.
The wilderness area includes the site of the Cañon de Chama land grant. A large area of northern New Mexico was included in the original Mexican land grant, but the U.S. Government confirmed only a small area along the river. The village cemetery is in the wilderness area.The Rio Chama is a Wild and Scenic River and is not part of the wilderness area. A Forest Service road parallels the river and in some places the wilderness area is only 100 yards from the road. The easy road access means that rafting is a popular activity when water levels are adequate. The Continental Divide Trail traverses the wilderness area and crosses the river on Scull Bridge. Hiking and horseback riding are other popular activities in the wilderness area.
The wilderness area is easily accessible from Santa Fe, New Mexico, along U.S. Highway 84.Collegiate Peaks Wilderness
The Collegiate Peaks Wilderness is a 168,000-acre (680 km2) area located in central Colorado between Leadville and Buena Vista to the east and Aspen to the west and Crested Butte to the southwest. Most of the area is in the San Isabel and Gunnison National Forests, with a smaller area in the White River National Forest southeast of Aspen. Most of the area is in northwest Chaffee County with smaller portions in Gunnison, Pitkin, and Lake counties.Colorado Natural Areas Program
Colorado Natural Areas Program is a program of Colorado Parks and Wildlife that identifies and protects public, and in some cases private, areas with at least one unique or high-quality natural feature of statewide significance. It was established in 1977 by statute. There are 93 designated sites that in total protect more than 250 endangered, rare, or threatened species. Land management agreements are made with landowners concerning private property.Colorado Trail
The Colorado Trail is a long-distance trail running for 486 miles (782 km) from the mouth of Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver to Durango in Colorado, United States. Its highest point is 13,271 feet (4,045 m) above sea level, and most of the trail is above 10,000 feet (3,000 m). Despite its high elevation, the trail often dips below the alpine timberline to provide refuge from the exposed, storm-prone regions above.
The Colorado Trail was built and is currently maintained by the non-profit Colorado Trail Foundation and the United States Forest Service, and was connected in 1987.Grand Enchantment Trail
The Grand Enchantment Trail (acronym "GET") is a wilderness recreation trail running 770 miles (1,240 km) between Phoenix, Arizona and Albuquerque, New Mexico. It crosses the Arizona Trail and Continental Divide Trail and at Albuquerque it meets the Rio Grande Trail and El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro.Great Divide Mountain Bike Route
The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) is a 3,083.8 mi (4,962.9 km), off-road bicycle touring route between Jasper, Alberta, Canada and Antelope Wells, New Mexico, USA. Completed in 1997, the GDMBR was developed by Adventure Cycling Association, who continue to maintain highly-detailed route maps and a guidebook.Great Divide Trail
The Great Divide Trail (GDT) is a wilderness hiking trail in the Canadian Rockies. The trail closely follows the Great Divide between Alberta and British Columbia, crossing the divide more than 30 times. Its southern terminus is in Waterton Lakes National Park at the Canada–US border (where it connects with the Continental Divide Trail) and its northern terminus is at Kakwa Lake in Kakwa Provincial Park, north of Jasper National Park. The trail is 1,130 km (700 mi) long and ranges in elevation from 1,055 m (3,461 ft) at Old Fort Point trailhead near Jasper to 2,590 m (8,500 ft) at an unnamed pass above Michele Lakes just south of the White Goat Wilderness Area.Great Western Loop
The Great Western Loop is a 6,875 miles (11,064 km) long hiking route that passes through several states of the western United States.
It links together five long-distance hiking trails: the Pacific Crest Trail, the Pacific Northwest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, the Grand Enchantment Trail, and the Arizona Trail. It features some of the most remote, beautiful, hostile, and pristine environments in the United States, including the Mojave Desert, the Sonoran Desert, 12 National Parks, and 75 wilderness areas.
Andrew Skurka, a professional backpacker, was the first to complete the Great Western Loop. On April 9, 2007, Skurka began the route from the Grand Canyon. Averaging 33 miles (53 km) per day, Skurka arrived back at the Grand Canyon on November 3, 2007, 208 days after he began. Jeff Garmire became the second person to complete the route, doing so in 2018. Jeff Garmire started on April 30 and finished on November 24, totaling 208 days on the trail. Garmire completed Nolan’s 14 while on the expedition, reaching the peaks of fourteen 14ers in Colorado in under 60 hours. Mr. Skurka and Mr. Garmire are the only two people to complete the Great Western Loop in under a year.
In 2019, the Great Western Loop will officially become the Great Western Loop Trail and expanded to include the northern and southern termini of both the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). The El Diablo Highway (not to be confused with Arizona's El Camino del Diablo) and the Mexican American Aqueduct Trail will connect the southern termini of the PCT and CDT, while the Pacific Northwest Trail will connect the northern termini. Upon completion, the trail will have an estimated length of 7285 miles.Homestake Pass
Homestake Pass is a mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of Montana in the United States. It sits on the Continental Divide on the border between Jefferson County and Silver Bow County, six miles south-southeast of Butte in Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest at an elevation of 6,329 feet (1,929 m).
The pass was discovered by Edwin Harrison McHenry, a civil engineer working for the Northern Pacific Railway, who was tasked with locating a route for the NP from the main line near Logan, Montana through to Butte. The line over the pass from Logan to Garrison, Montana via Butte became the Rocky Mountain Division, Second and Fourth Subdivisions, built in 1889. This was Northern Pacific's scenic transcontinental passenger train route used by the famous North Coast Limited and its Amtrak successor, the North Coast Hiawatha, which was discontinued in 1979. The line over the pass is currently owned by BNSF Railway. It has been inactive since 1983, as its grades and curvature are poorly suited to freight trains, which (now operated by Montana Rail Link) utilize the former Northern Pacific's easier route via Helena. It is unlikely that the rail line over the pass will ever be used again, but BNSF has resisted tearing out the line because the original lease with the Northern Pacific and the US Forest Service requires that the grade be returned to its original status, a very costly process.
When Interstate 90 was built, the state of Montana used Homestake Pass to cross the Continental Divide, thereby providing an easier alternative to the US Route 10 route over the Divide at Pipestone Pass.
A trail running race currently takes place annually on the Continental Divide Trail between Homestake Pass and Pipestone Pass. Hosted by Butte's Piss and Moan Running Club, the Wulfman CDT 14k is held on the Saturday closest to the Summer solstice.La Garita Wilderness
The La Garita Wilderness is a U.S. Wilderness Area located in the La Garita Mountains of southern Colorado. The 129,626-acre (524.58 km2) wilderness established in 1964 in Gunnison and Rio Grande National Forests includes segments of the Colorado Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. At 14,014 feet (4,271 m), San Luis Peak is the highest point in the wilderness area.
One entrance to the wilderness area is via Forest Road 787 from Saguache Park and Cochetopa Park off State Highway 114 west of Saguache, Colorado. There is a parking lot for visitors to the wilderness area at the south end of FS 787. Cochetopa Park may also be entered from the east over Cochetopa Pass via Saguache County Road NN14.Lone Mesa State Park
Lone Mesa State Park is a closed-access state park in Colorado. It is currently undergoing development and planning. The only allowed use is limited hunting with special permits.Parry Peak
Parry Peak, elevation 13,397 ft (4,083 m), is a summit in the Front Range of central Colorado. The peak is on the continental divide southeast of Winter Park in the Arapahoe National Forest. The name honors Charles Christopher Parry, a botanist who made extensive studies of the Colorado mountain flora in the 1860s. It is one of the 637 thirteeners (peaks over 13,000 ft elevation) in the state of Colorado and lies along the Continental Divide Trail.
Parry Peak is also the highest peak of the James Group of the Front Range of Colorado.Pem Dorjee Sherpa
Pem Dorjee (Nepali: पेम्दोर्जी शेर्पा) is a Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer born in 1982 in Chyangba, a small, remote village south of Mount Everest in Khumbu, Nepal.
Pem Dorjee has climbed Mt. Everest two times, the second time with his girlfriend Moni Mulepati where they exchanged wedding vows on 30 May 2005, and thus became the first couple to be married on top of Mt. Everest while on the Rotary Centennial Everest Expedition. They also hoisted the flag of Rotary International, a club with which Dorjee has frequently been involved, in honor of its centennial year.Aside from his mountaineering achievements, Dorjee has worked on improving the quality of life in his home village of Chayangba. Dorjee has organized service projects such as dental, eye, and other health projects, as well as funding to build libraries, schools, and drinking water systems in his village and other remote villages in Nepal.
Dorjee is certified as a Trekking and Mountaineering Guide by the Nepalese government. He is also an active member of the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA), American Alpine Club, Nepal Mountaineering Association, and Everest Summiteers Association. Dorjee recently hiked 3,100 miles along the Continental Divide Trail from the Mexico–US border to the Canada–US border as part of the Rotary CDT Challenge, a fundraising effort by Rotary International to build a continuous trail. Dorjee and his wife are partner owners of a gift store called The Himalayan Bazaar and are travel guides for the adventure travel company Of Global Interest — both were started by Heather O'Neal and are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.Thru-hiking
Thru-hiking, or through-hiking, is to hike an established end-to-end long-distance trail with continuous footsteps and completing it within one calendar year.
In the United States, the term is most commonly associated with the Appalachian Trail (AT), the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), but also refers to other end-to-end hikes. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy defines a through-hike as one completed within a twelve-month period; this definition is used by many groups.
Other examples include the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand, the Camino de Santiago in Spain, the Via Francigena in France and Italy, the Lycian Way in Turkey, the Israel National Trail, and the Great Divide Trail (GDT) in Canada. Thru-hiking is also called "end-to-end hiking" or "end-to-ending" on some trails, like Vermont's Long Trail or New York's Long Path and Northville–Placid Trail.
Section hiking, on the other hand, refers to hiking a trail one section at a time, without continuity and not necessarily in sequence with the other sections or within one hiking season.Triple Crown of Hiking
The Triple Crown of Hiking informally refers to the three major U.S. long-distance hiking trails:
Pacific Crest Trail – 2,654 miles (4,270 km) long, Washington, Oregon, and California between Mexico and Canada following the highest portion of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range.
Appalachian Trail – 2,184 miles (3,515 km), between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine.
Continental Divide Trail – 3,100 miles (5,000 km), between Mexico and Canada following the Continental Divide along the Rocky Mountains and traversing Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.The total length of the three trails is about 7,900 miles (12,700 km); vertical gain is more than 1,000,000 feet (190 mi; 300 km). A total of 22 states are visited if the three trails are completed. The American Long Distance Hiking Association – West (ALDHA–West) is the only organization that recognizes this hiking feat. At the ALDHA–West gathering, held each fall, the Triple Crown honorees are recognized and awarded plaques noting their achievement. As of November 2018, 396 hikers have been designated Triple Crowners by ALDHA-West since 1994.Weminuche Wilderness
The Weminuche Wilderness is a wilderness area in southwest Colorado managed by the United States Forest Service as part of the San Juan National Forest on the west side of the Continental Divide and the Rio Grande National Forest on the east side of the divide. It is about 5 miles (8.0 km) south east of the town of Silverton and about 15 miles (24 km) northeast of Durango. At 488,210 acres (1,975.7 km2), it is the largest wilderness area in the state of Colorado. The wilderness was named after the Weminuche Indians.
|National Geologic Trail|
|National Historic Trails|
|National Scenic Trails|
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|National Recreation Trails|