Some hikers don’t prepare anything ahead of time. That said, anyone who does their homework and is determined enough can be successful. Our favorite PLB is the Garmin InReach Mini - it uses top-notch satellite systems and has useful features like on-device mapping and two-way texting. Campaign Zero We can walk through the Great Basin in Wyoming earlier in the season when it is still cool, and hopefully water is more available than in the heat of summer. We’ll go over the main pros and cons of each strategy below, but generally we recommend shopping in bigger towns and sending boxes to more remote locations. Here are a few ways you can help and get involved: Thru-hiking the CDT is a big challenge with big rewards, and we hope this guide helps you plan a successful hike. The Continental Divide (CDT) – Updated Plan », Our 2020, 2019 & 2018 Gear Lists, Hammock & Ground, Don’t Patreon Us, Donate to these guys instead. Get your permit here. We’ll also walk you through the basics of choosing a direction and start date, getting permits, and more. -conservationlands15 Social Media Takeover, Jan 15th, Continental Divide Trail (16100439050).jpg 3,750 × 2,500; 4.94 MB Rodents - Mice, chipmunks, and squirrels will keep you company along the entire length of the CDT. We rounded up a bunch of the best coolers and put them to the test. While we have really enjoyed the medium-length hikes we completed over the past few years, we are looking forward to really taking full advantage of the whole spring/summer/fall timeframe to enjoy being outdoors, being in shape and seeing the beauty of the US. Most hikers use the following resources to plan their hikes: CDTC website (CDT Planning Guide, southern terminus shuttle, water report, current conditions, stewardship, and education), Yogi’s Continental Divide Trail Handbook (trail towns maps and amenities details, resupply addresses, and alternate route info. Top cook pot pick: Toaks Titanium 750 ml. If you’re on a tight budget or new to backpacking, check out our Best Budget Tents of the year. That said, the effort it takes to overcome the challenges the Trail presents are rewarded with unending panoramic views, deep solitude, and an opportunity to be immersed in true wildness. Do not approach moose. We can start in New Mexico earlier in the season and hopefully have cooler weather. Exploring New Areas: We’ve hiked in NM and CO before, but never in WY, ID or MT. Thru-hiking the CDT is incredibly fun, exciting, and awe-inspiring, but it definitely has some specific challenges. For many of us, it’s been drilled into our heads since day one that backpackers wear boots. A trusty pair of rain pants should be in every outdoor adventurer's gear arsenal. You only need a permit if you plan to camp in this area, and you can get it here. The chances of being bitten by a snake are very slim. The Continental Divide from Independence Pass. Mice also carry disease and can be a real problem near human-made structures like cabins and picnic shelters. In fact, the only reason I’m able to give any “clever” hiking advice is because of all the laughably bad mistakes I’ve made over the years. We’ll give you the inside scoop in our Best Women’s Hiking Pants Guide. Moose - Moose can be seen foraging along the trail from Colorado north. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips. The CDT Water Report is a crowd-sourced resource that can be very helpful. Before entering WY, the Trail loops though Rocky Mountain National Park and the awe-inspiring Zirkels in the Medicine Bow and Routt National Forests, Hiking through the Jaw-dropping Wind River Range, The CDT crosses the Great Divide Basin, a vast flat area where water doesn’t drain to any ocean, There are some very long dry stretches and road walks in WY, The craggy Wind River Range and Teton Wilderness are natural wonders and highlights of the CDT, The Green River at the south end of the Wind River Range roughly marks the boundary of grizzly bear country, The CDT coincides with the Oregon Trail wagon route and passes through South Pass City, a well-preserved pioneer town that serves as a museum, The Trail passes through Yellowstone National Park, a true geological wonder of the world and wildlife haven, Camping at Red Eagle Lake in Glacier National Park, The CDT edges along the Idaho-Montana border through the BeaverheadDeerlodge National Forest and into the Bitterroot Range, where it intersects the Nez Perce Trail, The CDT covers about 110 miles of ground in Glacier National Park, where grizzly bears and mountain goats roam among the incredibly steep mountains and rock monoliths, After traversing some of the most remote country Glacier has to offer, the CDT heads down the Waterton Valley River to the northern terminus and Canadian border at Goat Haunt, Celebrating at the CDT’s Northern Terminus. The entire Continental Divide Scenic Trail (CDT) is 3,100 miles long, 740 of which reside in the state of Colorado, running through the United States from the Mexico/U.S. A tough climb up to Indian Pass on the Continental Divide provided some pretty spectacular views. . So pick up one of the Best Backpacking Stoves of 2020 and make that moment happen. Hiking behind a deer in Glacier National Park. The Continental Divide Trail (CDT) spans over 3,100 miles from Mexico to Canada and is one of the most significant trail systems in the world. Our goal is to help make your adventures as rewarding and enjoyable as possible, and to inspire you to plan your next excursion. The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT) is one of the most significant trail systems in the world. We all use them, but many of us don’t really put much thought into it. If a moose chases you, hide behind a tree or other large object. We explain the key differences of each water treatment method and share our personal favorites in our list of the Best Water Filters of 2020. A steamy cup of java on a crisp, quiet morning is just about the perfect start to any day in the wilderness. If you’re lucky, you might also get a chance to see mountain goats, moose, and wolves. It’s a cold trail, and you’ll definitely need a tent or shelter you’re confident using in heavy rain and strong winds. Lightweight foldable bladders, like Platy Bottles, come in handy for big water carries. If you’re SOBO, you’ll probably want to get a little prep in before your start date. This should reduce some of the pressure to have a high average of daily miles. Length 4.8 miElevation gain 859 ftRoute type Out & back Hiking Nature trips Views The weather also changes very quickly in the Rockies and CDT hikers should expect frequent storms. Now, after many years and many miles, I feel very confident saying: Ditch the boots and don't look back. One of many arrowheads we found along the CDT. The highest point of the CDT is Gray’s Peak in Colorado (14,278 ft.) and the lowest point is in Columbus, NM (3,900 ft.). Nobody likes waking up with numb hips. Most popular maps/navigation tools (we used all of these on our CDT thru-hike): Jonathan Ley Maps (a great free map set with cliff notes produced by a legendary CDT hiker - get a taste of the CDT’s flavor by reading some highlights of these notes here), Bear Creek Survey/CDTC Maps (these two map sets use the same info), Guthook Guides CDT Phone App (tracks progress on map, shows elevation profiles, water sources, etc. Choosing the right footwear will be one of the most important gear decisions you'll make. Black Lives Matter Permits - There’s no long-distance permit to thru-hike the CDT, but you’ll need to obtain some permits for certain areas along the way. Here are some popular resources from the CleverHiker Gear Guide: Best Lightweight, Ultralight, & Budget Tents. Horny toads are friendly enough, though grumpy looking. Sign Up for our mailing list to get our newsletter with new posts. We love backpacking, international travel, useful gear, and all things nature. ⬆️ Link in bio, Crisp rushing water and distant snowy peaks in the Wind River Range. Keep up with our latest tutorials and gear reviews on YouTube. It’s not recommended as a first thru-hike unless you have considerable backpacking experience. Tasty food, cold drinks, and the great outdoors - the perfect trifecta! For those reasons (along with pure coziness), they’ve become our most beloved pieces of clothing for hiking and everyday wear. Long-distance hiking requires a lot of research, planning, and dedication. More: Check out our Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags & Quilts list for more options. Packing a top-notch tent is one of the best ways to increase comfort, safety, and enjoyment on backcountry trips. We outline critical considerations and our favorite food choices in our Best Lightweight Backpacking Food Guide. The Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) is the 501(c)(3) national non-profit working in partnership with the US Forest Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management to complete, promote and protect the Most PLBs allow friends and family back home to follow your hike on a map in real time which is just plain fun. Most people hike northbound (NOBO) on the CDT, but southbounding (SOBO) is gaining popularity. The other quarter shares all types of roads with motorized vehicles. Southern terminus: Crazy Cook Monument 2. So give a gift that gets someone outdoors this year. Great Divide Trail Length 1130 km (702 mi) Location Alberta and British Columbia, Canada Use Hiking Elevation Highest point 2,590 m (8,500 ft) Lowest point Old Fort Point trailhead, 1,055 m (3,461 ft) Hiking details Trail The CleverHiker Top Picks page is reserved for our personal favorite backpacking gear. Bears - Bears are ever-present on the CDT. Every year, the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, Continental Divide Trail Society, and US Forest Service work hard to maintain and protect the trail for recreation. Length:2700 - 3150 miles (depending on route) Time to hike:5-6 months Start and end points: 1. Freeze dried meals are convenient, calorically dense, and lightweight, which is why they’re so popular for backpacking. - John Muir. Pretty cool! It’s the highest, most remote, and, in many ways, most challenging of our National Scenic Trails. Follow along with this CDNST Interactive Map. The CDT Planning Guide does an excellent job of explaining the most popular flip-flop methods. Multitools turn a whole box of big, clunky gadgets into a small, portable device so you're prepared for any task. Down jackets are lightweight, packable, and highly efficient at trapping body heat. Navigating cross-country with a compass in a sparsely-blazed section in New Mexico. We’ve been boiling and sautéing up a storm in our outdoor kitchen to bring you this list of the best camping stoves on the market. A remote section of trail in the Wind RIver Range, WYoming. Dangers CDT thru-hikers should learn to minimize the risk of: Exposure (heat exhaustion/stroke and hypothermia), Using some water from a muddy rut to cool off to avoid heat exhaustion in the desert. It follows the Great Divide in the Rocky Mountains, weaving between Alberta and British Columbia for over 1,100km and crossing some of the most scenic parks in Canada. We're Dave & Annie, the outdoor adventurers behind CleverHiker. If you still have questions, check out our video on Snake & Cougar Safety for more info. Big water carries and dry camping - Water availability on the CDT fluctuates drastically based on your start date, snow pack, and the weather. Below, you’ll find tips about choosing a start date, buying gear, what to expect on the trail, and so much more. One of the fun things about the Continental Divide Trail is that it is a create your own challenge at times. Here are some common things you’re likely to experience while hiking the CDT: A dirt road leads through a vast basin of sagebrush in Wyoming. It’ll keep you toasty warm, even after spending hours jammed into the bottom of your pack. If you’re still sipping from that banged up old bottle you've had for a decade, it might be time for an upgrade. Whether you’re a weekend jogger or a seasoned racer training for your next ultramarathon, a running hydration vest can help you stay happy, healthy, and hydrated on the trail. Making a sign is helpful when trying to hitchhike. Rattlesnakes - Rattlesnakes are venomous and they’re abundant on certain parts of the CDT. Photo by Simon Morris. New videos, trip reports, gear reviews, inspiring stories and more. It’s normal to experience some foot aches and pains after long days of hiking, but we’ve found that wearing quality socks makes a big difference in how long we can keep our feet comfortable and in good shape on trail. Picking a start date - In a normal snow year, NOBOs start mid-April through mid-May. In our experience, friends and family really appreciated being included in the planning process. Using a Jonathan Ley Map while on an alternate route along the Gila River in New Mexico, 2,700-3,100 - Approximate length in miles depending on route chosen (average is 2,800), 150 - Average number of days it takes to complete a CDT thru-hike, 457,000 - Approximate elevation gain and loss in feet of the CDT, 14,278 - Highest point in feet (Gray’s Peak, CO), 4,200 - Lowest point in feet (Waterton Lake, Alberta), 4-5 - Average pairs of shoes a CDT hiker will go through, Nearing the end of our northbound thru-hike in Glacier National Park. This is typically emailed 1-3 times per month. Here are some of our favorite gear items to thru-hike with. Check out our How to Train for Hiking & Backpacking Trips Guide for some great tips to get your body primed for a CDT thru-hike. Social media is great, but our bi-weekly newsletter is a much better way to stay in the know. A muddy pond called a 'tank' - common water sources in parts of New mexico and Wyoming. Heather Eldridge is an accomplished backpacker, having walked over 6,000 miles through the country’s most beautiful wild places. The CDT goes through 3 National Parks: Rocky Mountain NP, Yellowstone NP and Glacier NP. They now live in a converted school bus with their cat in Sandy, Oregon. CDT thru-hikers should be confident in their way-finding skills; it’s common to use a combination of maps (or even two sets of maps) with a compass, GPS, and a smartphone with a navigation app for redundancy. No matter your experience level, you might enjoy our 21 Tips for the First Time Thru-Hiker post - it’s packed with good information to help prepare you for a long-distance hike. Elevate your next backpacking trip with a minimalist seat that makes break time and chilling in camp more comfortable. Some are better than others though, and we’re happy to share our opinion in our Best Freeze Dried Meals Guide. We've built over 30 instructional backpacking videos in two series - Essential Trail Skills & Lightweight Backpacking Foundations. Staying hydrated and avoiding parasites in the backcountry is critical. It travels through a multitude of diverse landscapes, weather, and challenges. She met her husband on her solo thru-hike of the PCT and they went on to hike the CDT together. For an in-depth look at what the principles mean for backpackers, check out our Leave No Trace video. A good pair of hiking pants should be functional and durable. Sitting in the shade of a large boulder to be the mid-afternoon Heat in Southern New mexico. It’s a breathtakingly diverse playground of craggy granite peaks, high alpine lakes, meadows socked with wildflowers, rugged windswept coastline, and more shades of green than your eyeballs can handle. So get in the mix! The CDNST has gained popularity in recent years due to the availability of GPS tracks and maps, and is an appealing choice for purists or those who prefer a more straightforward route. Generally, sources are far apart and unreliable in the desert. Moose are massive, powerful animals. The right camping mattress can be a real game changer. It’s common to feel more tired than usual, have a mild headache, or to feel like you need to breathe deeper to fill your lungs at these heights. Trekking poles can add a lot of stability and comfort to your hike. We prepared and mailed a lot of our food because we don’t enjoy shopping and repackaging food in trail towns much, PROS: Possibility of having more variety/being healthier, easier for those with dietary restrictions, less work and stress in trail towns, an opportunity for a friend or family member to be involved, making your own food can be fun, CONS: A lot of initial work and planning, you have to keep track of/work with local post office schedules, extra expense of shipping, might be stuck with too much, too little, or food you’re tired of, A few days’ RESUPPLY purchased at a fairly well-stocked convenience store, PROS: Ability to choose what you want when you want it, supports local communities along the trail, avoids shipping costs, no help needed (better option for international hikers), CONS: Food options can be limited or poor quality (gas stations and dollar stores), more work/stress in trail towns, can be expensive in certain places, lots of packaging and excess food to get rid of. Because getting good trail sleep is crucial, we’ve researched, field tested, and narrowed this list down to the 10 Best Backpacking & Camping Pillows of 2020. Check out our Ultimate Backpacking Checklist to start assessing what you have and what you might need to thru-hike the CDT. border. High altitude - There are long stretches of the CDT that stay above 10,000 feet in Colorado, which means you’ll have epic panoramic views for weeks. Be mentally prepared to drink from mud puddles full of cow poop to stay hydrated. The other two are the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. For some great tips to make your budget go further, check out our 21 Tips for Backpacking On a Budget post. At one point or another I’ve fallen victim to every one of the blunders listed below (and then some!). So, considering how essential your down coat is and how often you use it, let me ask you this; when was the last time you washed it? Many of the topics above are covered in more detail in our 20 Tips for Backpacking in the Desert Guide. Check out some of our favorite items in our guide to the Best Backpacking Gear for Women. One option is to hike the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDNST), which is a route designated by the US Forest Service. The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT) is one of the most significant trail systems in the world. We can avoid hiking in the San Juan Mountains (notorious for difficult snow conditions for north bounders) until later in the season, when hopefully the snow has melted. We expect the CDT to have quite a few more hikers, which might feel weird at times, but we are also looking forward to meeting new people. The CDT is considered one of the “Triple Crown” trails in the US. There are multiple flip-flop options. In this guide, we break down all of the best features from articulated knees to zip-off legs. Our reputation is our most important asset, which is why we only provide completely honest and unbiased recommendations. Whether you’re heading out for a picnic or a full-blown expedition, a quality cooler makes all the difference. Flip-flop - A “flip flop” hike is a good option for hikers who wish to avoid as much snow travel as possible. Continental Divide Trail Segment 7 is a 9.3 mile point-to-point trail located near Silver City, New Mexico that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. More: Check out our Best Backpacking Stoves list for more options. Read more... Then you'll love our biweekly newsletter. Hiking among the vivid colors and towering rock walls of Northern New Mexico, New Mexico, the “Land of Enchantment”, is full of rich Native American, Hispanic, and western culture, The Southern New Mexican desert is arid, but full of intriguing plants (sage,ocotillo, prickly pear, cholla, datura, and piñon pine) and animals (lizards, snakes, cows, coyote, and wild horses), Daytime temps can reach over 100℉, while nighttime temps can be below freezing, Pie Town was settled during the Dust Bowl as a pit stop for travelers to grab a slice of pie. Follow CleverHiker on Facebook to catch our latest updates & shares. It can be a little overwhelming to find the perfect pair of hiking pants. Solitude - Compared to the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail, a relatively small number of people attempt to thru-hike the CDT each year. When we hit the trail, this is what we carry in our packs. Both routes are scenic, remote, and challenging. If you injure yourself or find yourself in a dangerous situation, help is just a button press away. Say you left something in the woods that you need to go back for, tell the car to go on without you, and walk away - you don’t want to take an unnecessary risk. Family really appreciated being included in the planning process, packable, and lightning can happen anytime,... Heat in southern New Mexico in moose-country and our favorite glass water Bottles elevate. & Budget Tents with limited social interaction topics above are covered in more detail in our Best lightweight Backpacking Guide! Cat in Sandy, Oregon times in Glacier National Park, but walk-in permits are usually easy to can! Goal is to hike the entire length of a long-distance trail within a 12-month period hike... Considerable Backpacking experience year, NOBOs start mid-April through mid-May to find dead mice, the!, you’re probably also in moose-country safe on a tight Budget or to! 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Outdoor adventurers behind CleverHiker into you as sunshine flows into trees might also like our other content as.!, ” and carry six liters of water precipitation decisions you 'll probably like our post does! Incredibly fun, exciting, and you’ll be happy you have them you., Backpacking Hammocks, and not all finish a staple of every outdoor 's.