One of the ‘Triple Crown’ of US long-distance hikes, the Continental Divide Trail is referred to as a ‘journey along the backbone of America.’ The Continental Divide Trail offers a primitive backcountry experience where Trail users can follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, explore old mining sites, and gain more of an appreciation for the variety of landscapes in North America.
More than just another long-distance trail, the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) is sort of like a living museum of the American West, a place to reconnect with nature, and a unifying force bringing people of all walks of life together.
Picture yourself on one of the CDT’s longest roadless sections, right in the middle of the half-million-acre Weminuche Wilderness in Colorado, where the Trail tracks through high glacial valleys and offers views of the craggy Needle Mountains, or out on the Trail in central New Mexico, where the desert meets the mountains. The span of one day’s hike offers an immense diversity of landscapes.
Extending 3,100 miles from Canada to Mexico, the CDT encounters a multitude of ecosystems from tundra to desert, hosts a rich variety of wildlife, and preserves nearly two thousand natural, cultural, and historical treasures. Considered one of the greatest long-distance trails in the world, it is the highest, most challenging, and most remote of our National Scenic Trails. Ranging from 4,000 to 14,000 feet, the completed sections of the CDT provide a variety of recreational activities to many hundreds of thousands of people each year, including hiking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, wildlife viewing, fishing, hunting, and sight-seeing.
For the long-distance hiking community, the CDT is one-third of the “Triple Crown,” and annually, while the number is growing, approximately 150 ambitious travelers attempt to complete an end-to-end trek. Parts of the CDT are still in the planning phases, and trail users must bushwhack through, or walk around incomplete stretches.
A completed CDT will make the rugged and scenic landscapes in the backcountry of the United States public lands accessible to more people and will reduce the impact of trail users by concentrating them on a well-marked pathway. The Continental Divide Trail preserves the unique natural history of the Divide for future generations and provides the opportunity for more Americans to access and enjoy remote Wilderness areas, experience Native American cultures and view diverse wildlife.
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