About the Trail

Frequently Asked Questions

The trail has two official northern endpoints on the border between Montana and Canada. The main northern terminus is in Glacier National Park at Waterton Lake. The other is at the Chief Mountain border crossing, and is a good option for those who do not have a passport or are concerned about snow levels in the early or late season.

The southern terminus is at the Crazy Cook Monument in the "bootheel" region of New Mexico, on the Mexican border. The closest town to the southern endpoint is Hachita, New Mexico.

The Continental Divide Trail Coalition's trip planning guide gives detailed information on how to access the endpoints of the trail.

The Continental Divide Trail is for everyone! Whether you enjoy the trail for just a few hours, days, or weeks at a time, you can have an incredible experience on the trail. Most people hike on the trail, but it is also open to horseback riding. Some sections are open to mountain biking and motorized use.

The Continental Divide Trail Coalition has excellent resources available for planning a thru-hike or thru-ride, including maps, a water report, permitting information, and a free planning guide.

The trail's path along the Continental Divide, a unique geographic feature, defines many of the special qualities of the trail. The trail is remote and stays at high elevation for most of its length - the highest point on any National Scenic Trail, Gray's Peak, is 14,270 feet above sea level and the trail climbs all the way to its peak. The Continental Divide Trail also provides a window into the rich history of the West, from the history of indigenous peoples to westward expansion to sheepherding and mining in the Rocky Mountains. Crossing through diverse ecosystems and open to many uses, the trail provides a unique experience to all who seek to enjoy it.

 

A hiker on the CDT with a wooden sign in the foreground.

A picture of the Chinese Wall in Montana.

A black and white picture of President Johnson discussing a map of the proposed National Trails System

 

 

Trail Essentials

Read about ways you can enjoy the Continental Divide Trail, what to keep in mind when planning a trip, and how to responsibly enjoy your time outdoors.

 

Regions of the Trail

Discover the types of landscapes, plants, and animals you might encounter in the many regions the Continental Divide Trail passes through on its 3,100-mile journey.

 

History of the Trail

Learn about the history of the Continental Divide and the trail that follows it, from before humans reached North America to the CDT's designation as a National Scenic Trail by President Lyndon Johnson, and the more recent efforts to complete and protect the trail.