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CDT Planning Resources

The CDT Planning Guide is a one-stop resource for starting to plan a long-distance trip along the CDT.

Digital Download

2024 CDT Essentials Info Webinars – CDTC staff presents on permits, snow travel, safety, and more.

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Southern Terminus Shuttle

CDTC provides transportation to and from the Southern Terminus at Crazy Cook and Lordsburg, NM during peak hiking seasons.

More Info

Thru-hiking Resources

The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT) traverses 3,100 miles from Mexico to Canada, connecting the public lands along the Continental Divide across New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. Thru-traveling the CDT is a journey through some of the most challenging landscapes in North America. It can take 5-7 months, but the reward is breathtaking views, welcoming communities, and lifelong bonds.

Any successful CDT journey- big or small-starts with planning. Check out these resources and more to plan your CDT travels.

Water report SNOTEL info Closures and Notices Avalanche Info Resupply

Permits

There is no long-distance permit that covers the CDT, and long-distance travelers are responsible for acquiring all required permits for the areas you’ll be traveling through. For those hiking the entire length of the CDT, you will definitely need to plan ahead to acquire at least three permits: a Blackfeet Nation Fish & Wildlife Recreation Permit, and backcountry camping permits for Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. Additionally, several wilderness areas along the trail have kiosks where you should fill out self-service permit applications – these permits are free and cannot be applied for in advance, but are still required. 

Blackfeet Nation Fish & Wildlife Recreation Permit: This permit is required for any and all recreation on the Blackfeet Reservation, which the CDT passes through for several miles on the southern end of Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park: Backcountry permits are required to camp overnight in Glacier National Park. Because the park is a very popular backpacking destination, be prepared to be flexible with your itinerary. Permits can be obtained in advance online at Recreation.gov. Many CDT hikers have better luck obtaining walk-up permits as the park hold 30% of their reservations for walk-up hikers. Please visit this page for more detailed information on how to obtain a permit in Glacier National Park.

Yellowstone National Park: Yellowstone backcountry camping permits ($3/person/night, unless traveling with stock, in which case they are $5/person/night) must be obtained in person no more than 48 hours before the start of your trip through the park. From June through August, permits are available seven days a week from 8 am to 4:30 pm at many ranger stations and visitor centers – check the Yellowstone National Park website for details. Outside of those months, contact the Central Backcountry Office at (307) 344-2160 for details on where to obtain a permit.

Other Permits You May Need

Permits are also required if you choose to camp in Rocky Mountain National Park or the Indian Peaks Wilderness (both in northern Colorado).

RMNP: Backcountry camping in Rocky Mountain National Park is $26/person/night, and hard-sided bear canisters are required. Because the CDT loop through the park is just 25 miles, many long-distance hikers and riders choose to “slack pack” this section of the trail in one day to avoid camping in the park. Visit the link for more info. Bear canisters are available for rent at Never Summer Mountain Products in Grand Lake.

Indian Peaks Wilderness: The CDT enters the Indian Peaks Wilderness in Colorado (south of RMNP) in three different areas: 1.6 miles from just south of the park boundary to Knight Ridge (N. of Roaring Fork Trailhead); 2.6 miles from Monarch Lake to near Lonesome Peak; and 5.1 miles from just below Devil’s Thumb to Rollins Pass. This is an extremely high use wilderness area; do not camp in the Indian Peaks Wilderness without a permit. You can avoid the need for a permit by camping between Lonesome Peak and Devil’s Thumb, or by camping after Rollins Pass. To obtain a permit, contact the Arapahoe & Roosevelt National Forests at (970) 887-4100 or visit their website.

CDT Map Set

Version 3.1 is available! Download for updated 2022 CDT alignment, FarOut waypoints, and more.

The Continental Divide Trail Coalition CDT Map Set represents the entirety of the official Continental Divide National Scenic Trail route at a scale of 1 inch = 1/2 mile. Each page displays topographic information, an elevation chart, water sources, and waypoint data. The maps are available for download as state or section bundles in three distinct file types to serve travelers with a variety of navigation technology and planning trips of any distance on the CDT.

While we’ve worked hard to provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date information in these maps, the user is solely responsible for their own safety and planning while on the CDT. CDTC, the U.S. Forest Service, Atlas Guides, Hiiker, and any other parties are not responsible for any errors, omissions, or inaccuracies with the maps or data. All information is subject to change. Please read all product information included with map downloads and refer to multiple sources, including local land managers, when preparing to travel on the CDT.

The CDT Map Set is a free resource for the public thanks to generous donations and support from the CDT community. If you find this resource useful, consider donating at checkout to support the continued maintenance and production of these maps.

Tree in desert

Geospatial PDFs

For high-quality prints and interactive digital use. Vector-based PDFs with georeferencing information included.

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People hiking

Reduced Size PDFs

For variable internet connections and easy desktop printing. Image-based PDFs without georeferencing.

View in our store
Mountain Range

Avenza Map Download

For offline smartphone or tablet use with the Avenza Maps app. Links to download via the Avenza Map store.

View in our store

Safety

The CDT is a world-class destination for year-round recreation, enjoying it comes with the inherent risks of  the backcountry. We want to remind all trail users that you are responsible for your own safety, and your knowledge and equipment are your own first line of defense in an emergency situation. In the case of an emergency on the Continental Divide Trail, always call 911 or a local emergency number before reporting the incident to CDTC.

Being prepared with knowledge, equipment, and planning can help mitigate many of the risks associated with hiking and camping along the CDT. We suggest the following general safety rules:

1. Leave an itinerary with a trusted person at home. For hikers, having a plan in place for your support person when you miss a check-in is important. However, please note that some areas along the CDT are very remote and may not have cellphone service, including common alternates to the official trail. Using satellite beacons or similar will have greater reliability of messaging, if you intend to check-in directly from trail.

2. Trust your intuition. If a particular place or a person gives you an off feeling, trust your gut and get out of the situation as soon as possible. It’s better to trust your judgment and stay safe.

3. Camp away from roads, and be aware that anywhere people congregate, like campgrounds, may have greater risk of human-based incidents.

Always CALL 911 if possible during an emergency situation. If you do not have cell phone service, attempt to call 911 anyway; carriers outside of your phone plan are required to place emergency calls if they are available. A Spot device or another type of satellite messenger may also provide another communication option, although it does not guarantee your safety.

If you see something, say something. We’ve developed an incident report form that can be used to alert us of emergency situations after you’ve reported them to police, report all trail emergencies, incidents, suspicious activities, resource damage, or information on missing or suspicious persons on the Continental Divide Trail to local rangers or law enforcement officers as soon as possible, then use this form to report to and document with the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC). This form can be completed electronically and e-mailed as an attachment to [email protected], or printed, completed, and then mailed to: Incidents, CDTC, 710 10th St., Ste. 200, Golden, CO 80401.

Incident report form Blog post on safety

Minimize Your Impact

Want to learn how best to minimize your impact outdoors? When you follow the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace, you’ll help make sure the trail stays healthy for years to come.

lnt.org Blog post on LNT help

CDTC Official List of 3,000 milers

The Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) recognizes anyone who reports completion of the entire Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.

View Official List of 3,000 Milers