What is the Continental Divide Trail ? or CDT as is it commonly referred to.
Well the CDT is a 3100 mile / 4989 km walk from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada, following the Continental Divide through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.
It is the longest of the trinity of long distance hikes and the – so far – least traveled. the trinity consists of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), Continental Divide Trail (CDT) and the Appalachian Trail (AT).
The CDT is a little different compared to the PCT and the AT, as there are quite a few alternative routes you can take, so you’re kinda able to design your own route, which is pretty neat.
The New Mexico section (820 mi / 1320 km) will be a wide variety of desert landscape, red rock cliffs and big stretch along the Gila river(unless you choose to take the official CDT route, which no one does because the Gila River alternate is so beautiful) a lot of New Mexico will also include a bunch of questionable water sources, and long water carries.
Colorado section (800 mi / 1288 km) will be my highlight of the trip (I think) as it will go through the Rocky Mountains, San Juan Mountains, Greys peak which is the highest point on the CDT (14270 feet / 4350 m) and depending on how much snow is present will likely present some challenges and sufferings 🙂 But I almost didn’t get any of those on my PCT thruhike back in 2018, so I think I deserve some.
A big part of this section will likely be covered in snow, so crampons and an ice axe is probably a must. But time will tell.
A big portion of this section will be in pretty high altitudes, and about 70 mi (113 km) will be above 11000 feet (3353 m).
some of the sections will also require some heavy food carries, as you will be in the wilderness for about a week (depending on the weather)
Wyoming is about 550 mi (885 km) and will go through the Great Basin and the Wind River Range which is supposed to be pretty amazing to see as well, you will also be going through a portion of Yellowstone National park which is the US’ First National park – a little nugget of info there for you 😉
The Wind River Range has about 1300 lakes and some of the largest glaciers in the lower 48 states – so that will definitely be a spectacular sight!
The Great Basin is a 120 mile (193 km) stretch of desert, and not much water, so this will be another section with some long water carries.
IDAHO / MONTANA
Welcome to Grizzly bear country 🙂
IDAHO / MONTANA section is about 800 miles (1288 km) and 180 mi (290 km) of those are just across the Idaho border.
This section will go through the Anaconda mountains (also known as the Pintlers) Waterton Lake and Glacier National Park, Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and the Chinese Wall – a 1,000 foot escarpment.
There is of course a lot more info on each section on the official CDT website if you’re interested in reading more.