Southern Terminus and Shuttle InformationGetting to the Southern Terminus requires some significant planning. CDTC is now offering a service to help CDT South-bounders and North-bounders and CDT section hikers get to and from the CDT Southern Terminus during the high peak travel times. Jump to Shuttle Booking
CDTC runs the shuttle on selected dates between early March and mid-May for northbound thru-hikers. (Please note: the shuttle does NOT run every day.) Reservations for the shuttle open in early February. Reserve your spot online using the form at the bottom of this page, or call the CDTC office at 303-996-2759.
The shuttle for southbound thru-hikers is run on-demand in the fall. Hikers should contact CDTC with their ETA, number in the party, and contact info from Pie Town or Doc Campbell’s/Winston. Call the office at 303-996-2759 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Section Hikers & Off-Peak Season Rides:
Contact CDTC to arrange a shuttle before March 1 or after May 15. Call the office at 303-996-2759.
Water Cache Service:
CDTC maintains five water caches between the southern terminus and Lordsburg. Caches are included as part of your shuttle fee. Each hiker is allotted 2 gallons of water per cache.
If you are NOT using the shuttle service, but would still like us to cache water for you during peak season, please fill out the “New Mexico Water Caches” form at the bottom of this page. The cost for caches is $10/person.
You may also use the cache boxes to cache water for yourself.
The locations of water cache boxes are on our website in the New Mexico Trail Information/Southern Terminus Section. They are also included in Bear Creek Survey CDT Map Books and GPS waypoint files. Here is the link to stash boxes and here is a Southern Terminus Water Sources pdf map of the Trail with the stash boxes on it. We suggest drinking at least 2 Gallons/day/hiker. In peak northbound hiker time, CDTC makes periodic checks of the water caches. The caches are also periodically checked and supplied by volunteers of the community of Hachita, NM. We encourage donations to the Community of Hachita via the Post Office for folks not using our cache service, or simply to thank this community of their amazing support of the CDT over the years.
When does the southern terminus shuttle run?
CDTC can help you schedule rides between February 1-December 30, holidays excluded.
How far in advance do I need to make my reservations?
Please contact CDTC at least 2 weeks in advance to schedule a shuttle. Southbound thru-hikers should contact CDTC with their ETA from Pie Town or Doc Campbells/Winston.
Where and when does the shuttle pick me up?
Northbound hikers will be picked up at 6:30 am at the EconoLodge in Lordsburg, NM (1408 Main St). Southbound hikers will be picked up at 10 am at the southern terminus monument.
How long is the drive?
The ride between Lordsburg and the border takes approximately 3 hours.
Does it really cost $120?
Yes. Your shuttle fee goes directly into the costs of the program itself: trained driver, gas, vehicle repairs, rental vehicle during peak NoBo season, permit fees, etc. CDTC does not make money off of this program.
How many hikers are in each shuttle?
CDTC operates the shuttle under a Special Use Permit with the BLM Las Cruces Field Office. Per our permit, we can drive a maximum of 10 hikers to the border each day.
Can I bring my dog?
Unfortunately, no. Due to the close quarters of the shuttle vehicle and the possibility that other hikers may have allergies or a fear of dogs, we cannot allow dogs on the CDTC shuttle. Contact the office for further information.
What if I have to cancel at the last minute?
Contact the CDTC office, 303-996-2759, so that we can open the seat to another hiker. We require at least 48-hours notice in order to issue a refund. Cancellations made within 48 hours of your shuttle departure are not eligible for a refund.
What if I have to reschedule my shuttle?
Contact the CDTC office at 303-996-2759 and we will reschedule you to a different date, pending availability.
How to Hike in the Desert
The Bootheel of New Mexico sits at 4700 feet in elevation. If you are not used to walking at elevation, then you need to acclimate for at least one day. Why? The desert is hot, dry, and lacks any humidity. You will automatically lose water through your sweat just by being out and exposed to the desert environment. Add that you are carrying a 25 pound pack and hiking for 15 miles or more for 5 days in a row, and you increase your water loss and water consumption.
Electrolytes: If you’re not used to using electrolytes, then you need to get used to them BEFORE you arrive in Lordsburg. You will need them when you’re hiking across the desert. Water is not enough in this environment. Electrolytes will help your muscles recover, prevent dehydration, and generally make you feel a whole lot better.
When to hike: We highly suggest you hike early in the morning, take a siesta during the high noon/high sun portion of the day, and then hike once the sun has begun to lower in the sky and then hike into the dusk hours. Why? This will help you conserve water loss and sun exposure and prevent or at least reduce the possibility of heat exhaustion. We also suggest that on the first day you take it easy and take your time. We know it’s hard, you’ve been planning for a lifetime for your journey, but trust us, you don’t want your 6 month trip over in the first day.
Sun Exposure: two words: SUN BLOCK. Use the highest SPF rating you can find. Don’t forget the back of your neck, your ears, your hands, legs, and lips. Nothing is worse than sun burnt lips. You may also want to consider wearing a long sleeve collared shirt and long pants, and/or carrying a reflective trekking umbrella to protect your arms, neck, and legs from the sun in this climate.
Water: when getting water, drink when you’re at the source, and carry additional water beyond what you think you’ll need. We encourage you to drink at least a quart as you arrive at the cache and another just before you leave. Carry more than you need, rather than not enough. It’s just weight in your pack.
SAND~SAND~SAND…It’s everywhere: Welcome to the Bootheel… and the desert. If we had a nickel for every time we’ve heard someone say, “I’ve never had blisters before, I just don’t understand?” Use gaiters to keep as much sand as possible out of your shoes. Every time you stop to rest, take off your shoes and socks and shake them out and let them dry. Give your feet and legs a “bandana bath”: wet down your bandana and wipe off all the sand and grit. Sand will shred your feet. Even practicing all of the above may not prevent blisters, but it will help reduce them! Carry a blister kit in your first aid kit (moleskine, leukotape, bodyglide, etc.).
What about Snakes? Yep- the Bootheel has them. Just watch where you step, listen for the rattle, and give everything some space. You’re more likely to have an issue with thorns versus snakes, but don’t worry- you’ll see them. Snakes are most often active in the early mornings and later in the afternoons.
Is there other wildlife out there? Yep- look for tarantulas, scorpions, beetles, hummingbirds, cranes, and even the occasional pelican. Of course, you’ll also probably see golden eagles, hawks, and falcons, maybe hear a coyote, desert fox, and you might even be lucky enough to see on the desert bighorn sheep that make their home in the Big Hatchet Mountains. Cows are also there and can be VERY curious, but please don’t harass them, these cows belong to local ranchers and our neighbors, and every little bit of energy a cow expends, impacts the bottom line for those who make their living off of their growth. Agree or not, please be mindful of them. Finally, it’s not out of the question that you could see a jaguar, as one is known to roam in and around the bootheel of New Mexico and they may even be breeding on the Arizona/New Mexico state line.
What if I get into trouble? If you get into trouble get to or stay at a water cache box. During the April and May window, especially when we are running our shuttle, there will be people constantly at the caches and they can assist you, or if it’s our volunteers, help you. If you are near a road, get to the road and flag down the US Border Patrol! US Border Patrol are awesome and are very versed in both Wilderness First Aid and in search and rescue. They are great partners to us and will help you, we promise. If you have a SPOT or Garmin inReach, or cell phone, call Border Patrol first (they are there 24 hours a day- and most likely out in the bootheel and can be the first to get to you)! Then 911, and then us. Here are the numbers you need:
Border Patrol Office: 575-531-3010
Hidalgo County Fire and Rescue: 575-542-8272 (non-emergency)
CDTC: 720-340-2382(CDTC) (This is an answering service that is active 24 hours a day with text delivery to us.)
Anything else you should know– There is an amazing history to the area the CDT traverses across in the bootheel. Fascinating and amazing. At times you will be tracing the steps of the Geronimo and the Apache, and others, following the history of the Southwest with ranching, railroads, and mining history. Ask about these stories, learn about the Bootheel, and learn why this is the most amazing place for the CDT to start. There is no doubt when you get there, that you will quickly realize that the CDT is its own unique experience and can’t be compared to anything else. We want you to enjoy yourselves, but we also hope you’ll take heed and prepare yourself for what you may encounter.
Travel to Lordsburg
Lordsburg and Hachita Services
Shuttle Information and Sign Up
2018 shuttle reservations will open in early February 2018.
Shuttle fare includes:
- Five water caches between the Southern Terminus and Lordsburg (2 gallons per cache)
- A one-year membership to the CDTC
- CDT Hiker Registration Card: entitles you to discounts at hotels and services along the trail
- CDT Buff and bandana
- CDT Completion Certificate (redeemable whenever you finish)
Can I Cancel or Change my reservation? Reservations and prepayment are required 48 hours in advance. Please note: there is a 48-hour Reservation change/cancellation policy- reservations may be changed or cancelled up to 48-hours, cancellations/no shows occurring within 48-hours will not be refunded. We understand things happen, especially when travelling to this part of the country. We will work with you in most all situations to get you to the Terminus if unpredictable events occur. Please keep us informed if these incidents arise as others may be waiting to get on the shuttle list if you are unable to make your pre-arranged time.
For more information please contact us at email@example.com or 303-996-2759.
New Mexico Water Caches
If you are NOT taking the CDTC shuttle, we will cache water for you during peak season for a $10/person fee. This includes 2 gallons per cache at all 5 caches. In the drop-down menu, please select the first date that you will need the water so we know when to cache it for you.
If you have questions about the water caches please email Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org.