Continental Divide Trail
|Continental Divide Trail|
|Length||3100 mi (4989 km)|
|Designation||National Scenic Trail in 1978|
|Trailheads||Glacier National Park (U.S.)
Crazy Cook Monument & Columbus (alternate), New Mexico United States-Mexico border
some Horse riding
some Mountain biking
|Highest point||Grays Peak, Colorado, 14,270 ft (4,350 m)|
|Lowest point||Columbus, New Mexico, 3,900 ft (1,200 m)|
|Trail difficulty||Moderate to Strenuous|
|Months||April to October|
The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (in short Continental Divide Trail) is a United States National Scenic Trail running 3,100 miles (5,000 km) between Mexico and Canada. It follows the Continental Divide of the Americas along the Rocky Mountains and traverses five U.S. states — Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. In Montana it crosses Triple Divide Peak which separates the Hudson Bay, Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean drainages.
The trail is a combination of dedicated trails and small roads and considered 70% complete. Portions designated as uncompleted must be traveled roadwalking on dirt or paved roads.
Only about two dozen people a year attempt to hike the entire trail, taking about six months to complete it. As of 2008, no equestrians have managed to ride the entire trail in a single year, although several "long riders" have tried. German long distance rider Günter Wamser (on his way from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska), and Austrian Sonja Endlweber (who joined him for the rest of the journey from Mexico) managed to complete the tour with four Bureau of Land Management mustangs in three summers 2007–2009.
In 2007, Francis Tapon became the first person to do a round backpacking trip "Yo-Yo" on the Continental Divide Trail when he thru-hiked from Mexico to Canada and back to Mexico along the CDT and needed 7 months to finish it.
This trail can be continued north into Canada to Kakwa Lake north of Jasper National Park by the Great Divide Trail, which is so far described only in a few books and carries no official Canadian status.
New Mexico 
The CDT in New Mexico is about 700 miles (1,100 km) long and some portions have very limited water. Local volunteer groups place water caches (usually a pile of plastic gallon jugs) at strategic points along the trail. Three southern termini of the trail exist: Crazy Cook Monument, Antelope Wells and near Columbus, all in New Mexico's boot heel. The terminus near Columbus is not on the Continental Divide (see Animas Mountains) but rather in the vicinity of Columbus, New Mexico, a village that is also the northern terminus of the annual 250-mile (400 km) Cabalgata Binacional Villista.
Alternate Route via Columbus, New Mexico - Antelope Wells, New Mexico is the most commonly known starting or finishing point of the Continental Divide trail, but due to its remote location devoid of any lodging or services, Columbus, New Mexico is considered the alternate starting or finishing point for those hiking or biking the Continental Divide trail. Located 3 miles from the International Port of Entry at Palomas, Mexico, Columbus is a small border village with such amenities as two modest hotels, a gas station, a handful of small cafes, Post office, bank, mechanics, and grocieries. The village of Columbus, New Mexico is listed as an historical site due to the 1916 invasion by Pancho Villa and his "Villistas". The village has two museums and a state park commemorating the raid and punitive expedition led by the U.S. Army General "Blackjack" Pershing to capture Pancho Villa.
Notable points on the CDT in New Mexico include:
- Animas and Playas Valleys
- Carson National Forest
- Chama River Canyon Wilderness
- Cibola National Forest
- Cumbres Pass
- El Malpaís National Monument
- Gila National Forest
- Pie Town
- San Pedro Parks Wilderness
The CDT passes through many of the highest and wildest mountain regions of Colorado, such as the San Juan Mountains and the Sawatch Range. In most areas the trail is well marked. It is concurrent with the Colorado Trail for approximately 200 miles (320 km). The Continental Divide itself in Colorado meanders some 650 miles (1,050 km). There are many stretches of the Continental Divide in Colorado that have no distinct marked or named trail. The Continental Divide Trail only covers a portion of the Continental Divide in Colorado. Many stretches of the Continental Divide in Colorado are still a wilderness to even a footpath.
The CDT includes a large section of rangeland in the middle of the state, as well as the Wind River Range and Absaroka Range in the northwest portion of Wyoming. The CDT traverses a large portion of the southern half of Yellowstone National Park. Hikers must decide on a route with regard to the Great Divide Basin at the southern end of the state (since the actual Continental Divide forks in southern Wyoming forming in an endorheic basin there). The shortest route is through the middle, and water availability is uncertain in most years.
The Montana portion of the CDT is almost entirely in mountain ranges, running along the Idaho border for part of the way. Approximately 110 miles (177 km) of the trail traverses Glacier National Park.
The Montana Wilderness Association is the leading non-profit partner for the northern section of Continental Divide Trail. MWA staff are working to connect the 980 miles of CDT in Montana and Idaho with the help of dedicated volunteers and agency partners.
See also 
- Great Divide Mountain Bike Route - parallel, sometimes shared tread
- Colorado Trail - the two trails coincide for about 200 miles (320 km)
- Pacific Northwest Trail - Shares a common start/end point with the CDT in Glacier National Park.
- Wamser, Günter (2007) Der Abenteuerreiter - In 11 Jahren mit Hund und Pferden von Feuerland nach Mexico Verlag Günter Wamser, 384 pages, ISBN 978-3-00-021527-8.
- Wamser, Günter / Endlweber, Sonja (2009) Im Wilden Westen - Die Abenteuerreiter unterwegs in den Rocky Mountains Verlag Abenteuerreiter, 432 pages, ISBN 978-3-00-027702-3.
- Drabanski, Emily. "Hello, New Mexico". KSFR, Santa Fe Public Radio. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
- Reese, Janet. "5 questions for long-distance hiker Francis Tapon". Rocky Mountain News. 19 June 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
- Bob Julyan, Tom Till, William Stone (2001) New Mexico's Continental Divide Trail: The Official Guide Big Earth Publishing, 320 pages, ISBN 1-56579-331-5.
- "New Mexico". Continental Divide Trail Alliance. May 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
- "Continental Divide National Scenic Trail". Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
- "CDT Montana Volunteer Trail Stewardship Program". Montana Wilderness Association. Retrieved 2013-04-20.
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- CDT Montana, Montana Wilderness Association
- Continental Divide Trail Society
- Continental Divide Trail Coalition
- Continental Divide National Scenic Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park (National Park Service)
- Jonathan Ley's CDT Hike - a hiker's website
- Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest web site - Describes the northernmost parts of the trail
- CDT-L - Continental Divide Trail Mailing List
- Mailing Label Maker - Continental Divide Trail Mailing Label Maker
- CDT Thruhiking Resources - Listing of important resources to thruhike the CDT
- Google Map of CDT High Resolution Google Map of CDT
- A Quick & Dirty CDT Planning Guide - A general overview of the CDT for planning purposes
- Francis Tapon's CDT Yo-Yo hike - a website of the first person who made a round-trip on the CDT
- Hiking Journals from people on The Continental Divide Trail