Thru Hiking

The ultimate backcountry experience. A thru hike of the CDT is an amazing accomplishment not to be taken lightly. Arm yourself with information below.
Water ReportTrail Journals
  • Congress designated the CDT on November 10, 1978
  • Congress recognized the valuable contributions that volunteer and private, non-profit trail groups have made to the development and maintenance of the Nation’s trails. In recognition of those contributions, Congress further recognized that it was critical to encourage and assist volunteer citizen involvement in the planning, development and management, where appropriate, of these Trails.
  • National Scenic Trails are created to provide for maximum outdoor recreation potential and for the conservation and enjoyment of the nationally significant scenic, historic, natural, or cultural qualities of the areas through which such Trails may pass.
  • The Vision of the Interagency Leadership Council for the CDT is to complete the Trail to connect people and communities to the Continental Divide by providing scenic, high-quality, primitive hiking and horseback riding experiences, while preserving the significant natural, historic, and cultural resources along the Trail.
    • The CDT is one of the most significant Trail Systems in the world. It stretches 3,100 miles along the spine of the Great Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico and provides access to some of the most wild and scenic places left in the world while promoting conservation of the environment and physical health and well being.
    • CDTC estimates that as of December 2015, 85 % of the Trail is completed. The official route starts at the Canadian Border in Glacier National Park and ends in the Big Hatchets Wilderness Study Area on the Mexican Border, and is mapped and useable.
    • Estimated Miles in each state and miles to “complete”:
    • Montana/Idaho – 980 estimated miles, 250 miles to be completed
    • Wyoming – 550 estimated miles, 55 miles to be completed
    • Colorado – 800 estimated miles, 75 miles to be completed
    • New Mexico – 775 estimated miles, 80 miles to be completed
    • Travels from Canada to Mexico through 25 National Forests, 21 Wilderness Areas, 3 National Parks, 1 National Monument, 8 BLM Resource Areas and through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico
    • Some segments of the CDT remain open to motorized use, many of these segments make up some of the Trail locations we seek to relocate.
    • The Lead federal agency responsible for completing the CDT is the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). They work with the National Park Service (NPS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the nonprofit partners to complete, maintain and manage the CDT.
    • The Highest point on the CDT is Grays Peak in Colorado (14,270 feet) and the lowest is along Waterton Lake in Glacier National Park in Montana (4,200 feet).

The CDTC has partnered with Atlas Guides to publish the CDT hiking app avaliable for iPhone and Android.

Link to Android app in the Play Store: 
Link to the iOS app in the App Store:

Other Map Resources:

Bear Creek Survey Maps

Developed by the former CDT organization and Jerry Brown of Bear Creek Survey, these map guides reflect the most current line data for the CDNST available. These guides will give you the most accurate way point data for the “official” CDNST route, including water sources, critical intersections and general know where you are or need to be information. The data contained in the CDT app is the same as what you will find on the Bear Creek Survey Maps, we highly recommend you combine these with Yogi’s CDT Handbook and Planning guides for the best adventure possible on the CDNST!

A great free (print at home) and popular resource are maps put together by Johnathan Ley.

Hiking Resources for the Long Distance Adventurer:

  • A Quick and Dirty CDT Guide– developed by long distance hiker Paul “Mags” Magnanti, a quick a easy how to to get you started in planning your hike. By no means a complete how to, it helps you identify all the things you will need to know about our trip on the CDT.
  • Yogi’s CDT Handbook Planning guide and town guide  – developed by Jackie “Yogi” McDonnell, this is the most current and up to date guide for resources, supply points etc along the CDT. These guides will help make your planning much more straightforward than ever before.  We highly recommend these guides, especially when combined with the CDT Map Guides!
  • CDT Map Guides– Developed by the former CDT organization and Jerry Brown of Bear Creek Survey, these map guides reflect the most current line data for the CDNST available. These guides will give you the most accurate way point data for the “official” CDNST route, including water sources, critical intersections and general know where you are or need to be information.  We highly recommend you combine these with Yogi’s CDT Handbook and Planning guides for the best adventure possible on the CDNST!
  • The Hiking Life: The Hiking Life is a compilation of tips and advice on trip planning, lightweight backpacking techniques and improving your wilderness skill set. It contains photos and trekking notes from more than 130 of the world’s great hikes, all of which Cam “swami” Honan has had the good fortune of walking since 1994.
  • The Trail Unites Us: The Trail Unites us is a well organized blog by Elisabeth “LoveNote” Chaplin.  Started in 2012, this site lists all current year thru/section hikers and directions of their hike.  It also provides good information and on line journals of hikers.
  • Trackleaders.comLong distance trails like the Continental Divide Trail are national treasures and the backbone of the United States trailsystem.  Trackleaders has set up general purpose trackers that are open and FREE to anyone traveling these trails, whether you are only out for a few days or are going for the whole enchilada. Grab attention for your trip or simply join the trail community with your SPOT device. So, if you have a spot tracker and you list your tracker with trackleaders.com not only can your loved ones follow your progress, but we can too!  For more information on how to get on this map, go to Trackleaders.com website and get connected!  Track leaders live tracker for not only the CDT, but the Colorado Trail, Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Arizona Trail and Great Divide  Mountain Bike Route,  is a free service, but any donations made to Trackleaders, also supports the CDTC!
  • CDT Mailing Labels Based on research by CDT Thru hiker Robert “Sly” Sylvester, the CDT Mailing Label Page provides an easy way to create mailing labels for many of the locations along the Continental Divide Trail. The mailing labels are ideal for sending food, maps, guidebooks, gear, and bounce boxes to most locations along the trail. Disclaimer 1: Since most of the towns along the CDT are small, the information is subject to change. Disclaimer 2: These are all subject to the nature of the CDT and the route taken. These drops etc, do not necessarily follow the “official” route ( i.e. what is in the CDT Map Guides as the official route). Allow ample time and call resorts and stores well before sending any packages for exact terms, and rates, if any.

CDTC Official “Register” Program

Keeping Track of our users is important to the CDTC.  For safety reasons, collecting hiker statistics and demographics, general trail conditions encountered, knowing the general whereabouts of users, we have placed these official registers in establishments that will securely maintain this data so helps us ensure the best approach to public safety we can along the CDT.   Many of these locations also help provide services to CDT Travelers, this information is updated annually.

Other Long Distance Trail Organizations and Resources

We have compiled several spreadsheets to help with trip planning and resupply. Click on each link to open the spreadsheet in Google Sheets. You can cache the spreadsheets on your smartphone, print them out, or save them to your personal Google account and edit as necessary for your hike. Please email us with corrections, additions, and suggestions at info@continentaldividetrail.org.

Resupply Master List
Most common (and some uncommon) stops along the trail, by mile point. Post office address & hours, grocery store/resupply info, outfitter location, fuel canister availability, & other important info (maildrops, shuttles, discounts, etc).

Fuel Canister Availability List
Using a canister stove? Here’s where you can get fuel along the trail. Thanks to Lisa “Peru” Karst for creating this spreadsheet.

Outfitter Availability List
List of outfitters and stores selling outdoor gear in towns along the trail. Thanks to Jenny “Cloud” Gaeng for creating this spreadsheet.