The Continental Divide Trail

Hiking the Continental Divide TrailBackpacking the Continental Divide Trail

Continental Divide Trail
Continental Divide Trail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
CDT (Photo credit: asafantman)
English: Looking north on the Continental Divi...
English: Looking north on the Continental Divide Trail in the Weminuche Wilderness between the Palisade Meadows cutoff and the Knife Edge – of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Continental Divide Trail (CDT) begins at the Mexican border in New Mexico and runs 3100 miles through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, part of Idaho, and Montana. It is not well-marked and is still a work in progress. Many thru-hikers start at the Canadian border and hike south; others will begin in the south and head north.

If you attempt to thru-hike this trail, carry a GPS, become good at navigation–map and compass–and go with a partner. I haven’t finished this trail but hiking it alone, most of my thinking time was spent trying to confirm where I was and trying not to get lost.  I did get lost several times and had to backtrack to figure things out.

Study the CDT website:  At the CDT website you can learn about the trail and buy maps.

Read thru-hiker journals:  An excellent way to prepare is to read the journals of successful CDT thru-hikers. Go to the site above and look at the journals; print one out and study it. Most journalists discuss gear, navigation, how they handled snow, the towns where they resupplied, techniques, etc.

Invest in a On the left side, scroll down to CDT. The most helpful book for me was Yogi’s CDT Handbook (Planning Guide and Town Guide) by Jackie McDonnell. Request the 2010 edition.

You won’t meet many thru-hikers on this trail. I didn’t meet any, although I didn’t finish. To finish in one season, you need to average about twenty miles a day; there were days I couldn’t do that, mostly because of snow. But it is a great experience to hike this “King of Trails.”

Published by Ray Anderson

Hiker and writer. Have hiked the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, The Long Trail (Vermont), and some of the Continental Divide Trail. My trail name is "HAMLET." Have written three hiking novels (thrillers). The first one, "THE TRAIL," was traditionally published in 2015. My second hiking thriller, "SIERRA," released Oct 2016. Book three in my AWOL hiking-thriller series, "THE DIVIDE" releases from Turner Publishing 8/18/2020.

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