2,989.4 miles
Distance
430,276 ft
Climb
-430,315 ft
Descent
3 miles
High Point

No description for Continental Divide Trail (CDT) Complete route has been added yet! Submit one here.

Detailed Description
Continental Divide Trail (CDT) Complete is a 2,989 mile moderately popular expert route located near Montana. This hike primary route can be used both directions and has a hard overall physical rating. This route includes 225 trails. This route climbs 430,276 ft with a max elevation of 14,256 ft then descends -430,315 ft.
Local Trail Association
Local trail association
International Mountain Bicycling Association (www.imba.com)
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Outside Logo Articles

Through Hiker to Ultra Winner: Jack Jones and the CDT
Dec 8, 2021 from trailrunnermag.com
Jack Jones hiked the Continental Divide Trail in 2021. Just days after finishing, he lined up for - and won - his first ultra.
Opinion: Blaze the Continental Divide Trail
Jul 19, 2019 from backpacker.com
Some hikers grouse that blazing the CDT will ruin it—but that’s exactly the problem with doing nothing.

79 Reviews & Comments

  • + 1
Jbama BUMP (Sep 21, 2022 at 11:53)
This trail crosses some scenic areas but is not a lot of fun to ride in either direction.
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austin-woloszyn (Sep 18, 2022 at 20:10)
Highly recommend having plenty of time to ride this. Minimal trail but as the other comment claims take path of least resistance and it should work out. I made it about 1/4 mile before I was coming pretty close to running out of daylight and had to turn back. Would like to connect this to the CDT into Georgia pass (CT).
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FallenTimber (Aug 17, 2022 at 12:17)
Nice relaxing climb. All of this section is rideable and enjoyable.
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FallenTimber (Aug 17, 2022 at 12:16)
The hiking portions are short. The views are amazing. And the switchbacks as you descend below tree level will have you grinning ear to ear. Such a blast!
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JonI7tzK5 (Jul 31, 2022 at 7:23)
Yes, very thick forest. Kind of nice on hot days!
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Numba1 (Jul 23, 2022 at 16:54)
Gtytyhyyh Hugh hhhuy the h he huu guy guy y hi hi hi hi ghhyyyhh guy hotthyuuuyayyu
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HHskier (Jul 11, 2022 at 6:56)
Nice rock formations. Trail is clear of downed trees as of July 2022.
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  • + 1
mexicanwaterdachshund (Jul 10, 2022 at 15:00)
Amazing ride! Connect with 3 mile ridge especially if you have a shuttle rig.
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  • + 0
bocomtb (Jul 5, 2022 at 7:12)
Rode east to west on July 4th. Not much traffic. Most of it was hikers going the same direction.

The climb was manageable. No pushing necessary. Easier than climbing up to Georgia Pass from Kenosha and easier than a lot of Front Range climbs.

The descent is an absolute ripper. Wide open sight lines. No technical features whatsoever though I did create a few root gaps for myself. The switchbacks don’t come out of nowhere…stop staring at your DHF knobs ya’all.
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Momur (Jun 16, 2022 at 19:50)
Not designed for biking. Lots of rock field
S requiring hike a bike.
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andy-legrunge (Jun 6, 2022 at 10:08)
This trail is open to bikes
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ABhardtail (May 5, 2022 at 7:23)
A picture of the trailhead sign from 2021 that I see on Google Maps says that bikes are prohibited on this trail segment.
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  • + 0
Wmstein (Feb 28, 2022 at 8:26)
Perfect trail conditions today
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rth009 (Sep 13, 2021 at 17:21)
Huge trees down about 1/4 mile from the Switchback Ridge intersection as of 9/12/21.
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  • + 0
mtbergabe (Sep 8, 2021 at 21:44)
Adter you drop in from 160 hit the woods, hang an immediate left after you cross the wooden bridge - this is the trail up. All others just disappear into the woods. The climb up is also going to be a lung buster for those not in good shape and/or acclimated to the altitude.
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  • + 0
mtbergabe (Sep 8, 2021 at 21:38)
Rode this 9/6/2021. Shuttled to Lobo Overlook & took the connector behind the weather station then left on the CTD Sec 4. Fun descent back down to 160. There are ~4 downed trees that require a dismount. Section ~1/2 way down is a bit washed out and pretty loose with a steep slide down to the right if you fall . It's rideable but be careful. Also mind that this area is recovering from a devastating fire - read the sign and fill out the logbook before you drop in.
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  • + 0
bizango-x (Sep 5, 2021 at 21:35)
We only rode a small part of it, but what we did see was really nice. Worth checking out. We intend to come back and do the whole thing.
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motoracer712 (Aug 31, 2021 at 9:18)
Rode this as a loop from Targhee creek TH and down Targhee creek. Absolutely epic ride with insane views once above tree line.
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6daysofslay (Aug 28, 2021 at 13:26)
I had a bunch of fun coming down it wide open
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  • + 1
masonskis (Aug 27, 2021 at 9:28)
I concur with the description, the section up high along and west of Taylor Mnt is pretty bad old road; but a loop going up Keg Springs, west on the CDT, and down Taylor Creek is a worthy endeavor.
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  • + 1
NebSgird (Aug 12, 2021 at 7:37)
Climbing this is absolutely brutal, but absolutely worth it for the views and experience. Bikepackers, expect about 3-4 total miles of hike-a-bike. I agree this should be rated as black diamond, especially up hill. Might be better to run this west-to-east, climbing up Mile Creek, but I can't speak from experience.
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  • + 0
Ronnie5mErJ6 (Jul 25, 2021 at 14:04)
Ru
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iski1122 (Jul 24, 2021 at 17:20)
Rode as out and back from Copper up to Janet’s Cabin. 13 miles round trip. I’m 52 from Oklahoma. There were some parts that were hike a bike on the way up. The return was great. Nothing that dramatic. One note - keep your speed and remember that it is not all downhill back to Copper.
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  • + 0
homemadesalsa (Jul 18, 2021 at 17:33)
All cleared as of July 2021 by Corey Biggers and SWMMBA.
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  • + 1
ButteFenway (Jul 17, 2021 at 5:07)
Lowland all the way to Champion Pass has been cleared by USFS for the Divide Scramble . A fundraiser for Bike Walk MT. Taking place July 17 2021.
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  • + 1
ButteFenway (Jul 17, 2021 at 5:02)
Lowland to Champion Pass . All has been cleared by USFS for the Divide Scramble a fundraiser Bike Walk MT. Taking place July 17th
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  • + 0
hi-dr-nick Reporter (Jul 16, 2021 at 13:20)
Never been the same since they sanitized the descent heading east a couple years ago. Used to be log jumps and more fall line riding, now it’s flat corners and too many switchbacks
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  • + 0
nomadreet (Jul 11, 2021 at 18:50)
This is an amazing trail. Flowy and rips through open meadows on the top and then through woods.

Only one tree down on this trail
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kirkastroth (Jul 2, 2021 at 9:10)
Trail is open, clear and great to ride. Very smooth and great vistas of the Butte Valley.
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rvHEaH (Jun 13, 2021 at 7:11)
Super fun out and back, dry and sandy, but there are a couple of trees down across the trail about 1/2 a mile in. Easy to carry a bike over though
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  • + 0
Skicolorado17 (Jun 10, 2021 at 9:55)
Good to go
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  • + 1
mtcanuck (May 9, 2021 at 21:11)
Lime kiln CDT is clear and snow free up to the Toll Canyon trail intersection. From there to the cattle guard/road there are over a dozen trees and plenty of snow.
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  • + 1
MattinButte ATS (May 21, 2021 at 18:29)
Hey mtcanuck,
Thanks for commenting on the trail conditions! In the future I recommend doing this as a trail report as this is the official way to view and update status and condition of trails on Trailforks.
Cheers,
Matt
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  • + 0
briananacker (Oct 23, 2020 at 21:37)
climb is sustained and steep, but not rampy nor loose, and therefore just a grind rather than a gruel. The descent is bonkers fun, although I did the last miles in the dark.
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  • + 0
wgwestervelt (Sep 30, 2020 at 17:18)
I would agree that the climb is a nasty and never ending one. Can be done if your in great shape and can handle the altitude. The ride down makes it worth it though.
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  • + 1
wgwestervelt (Sep 30, 2020 at 17:16)
This trail (ridden down) is a super fun smooth rip with some nice root drops and tight turns to keep you paying attention.
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  • + 1
mtbwanderer (Sep 20, 2020 at 7:28)
This map is actually inaccurate. You can ride several miles of this section from the northwest end legally on a mountain bike up until the Holy Cross Wilderness Boundary. You just can't go into the wilderness area.
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  • + 1
todd Trailforks (Feb 8, 2022 at 16:19)
I split the 2 trails at the border to show what you can ride on. There is a short segment on the west end too, but really short.
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  • + 0
masonskis (Sep 6, 2020 at 20:14)
An excellent start for Mile to Sheep, adds a couple miles maybe. Flowy and fast through the Aspens in spots.
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  • + 1
Pivot5-5 (Aug 14, 2020 at 4:27)
Just rode this as a loop, up Targhee Pass CDT and connected down on Targhee Creek. 21 miles with 4350 feet climb (Google Earth). CDT is definitely a Black Diamond on the climb for me, I hiked a bit. Targhee Creek is a very steep and technical down hill with some sections that are starting to get washed out. Very much worth the effort. I'm not sure what the write-up means by '' hardly noticeable '' This trail is very well defined.
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  • + 0
FallenTimber (Aug 9, 2020 at 10:49)
Brutally steep in places (even pushing the bike was a challenge at times), but worth the effort. The views are unbelievable. I rode this uphill and descended the Copper Mountain side. I felt this direction made the most sense and was the most fun.
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J4m3z420 SCoMBA (Aug 31, 2020 at 20:53)
Riding from Copper to Frisco is muuuch better and preferred.
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  • + 0
FallenTimber (Aug 9, 2020 at 10:47)
Amazing ride. Rode this downhill and had a blast. Technical and steep in parts but all rideable. This could be done either direction.
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iski1122 (Jul 14, 2020 at 20:50)
Several cautions to note about this trail:
1. The climb to the top is grueling. This is NOT a blue for anyone coming from lower altitudes.
2. The descent is a lot of fun! However, there are some very tight switchbacks that you get NO WARNING they are coming and NO BERM help!

I am 50 years old from Oklahoma. I ride the Womble (IMBA Epic) a lot in Arkansas. If that is what you are looking for skip this section and ride the next two sections!
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  • + 0
metalmt (Jul 12, 2020 at 5:33)
Routed up from hiway and down Watkins as a shuttle. Unbelievable ride!! One of the best alpine routes ever, curly lake used to be the best big ride in SW MT but this is better. Ridge line riding for miles w insane views! Altitude makes it more difficult than it looks on paper tho. And stopping for the Views all time makes it a long ride and I ran short of water. Add an hour to what u think it will take. Going down Watkins gets u about 3000’ climbing total. Plenty of creek crossings on the Watkins downhill.
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  • + 0
AlexanderCR (Jul 11, 2020 at 15:55)
This is a fun climb up and a rowdy and fast descent down. It has stream crossings, lots of baby-head rocks and loamy turns. There was a fire in this area two years ago, so there are lots of downed trees, but nothing on the trail itself. I would recommend climbing up Peaks Trail, and turning right onto this trail. Lots of fun to descend- you can double up the closely spaced water bars, all while getting a great view of the surrounding mountains.
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  • + 0
andy-legrunge (Jul 11, 2020 at 13:22)
Seriously nasty, very rocky, very loose. Exhausting to descend, trying to climb it would be an exercise in self-hatred.
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andy-legrunge (Jul 11, 2020 at 13:17)
Did a loop starting up Middle Fork, taking this route east to west - as expected, lots of riding/pushing across rocky tundra, some areas with faint trail, even a few drops of real singletrack. Route is fairly obvious, just take the path of least resistance across the ridge. It helps to study the satellite for trail segments and drop yourself a couple pins. Not for the pissy or faint of heart. Sick views of Tenmile, Holy Cross, Grays massif.
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  • + 0
Radagascar (Jul 11, 2020 at 13:11)
I recommend North to South and having someone pick you up near the lake. 70% of the 1000 feet of climbing is STEEP. Great downhill sections with some loose rocks and barely any tech. Glorious woodsy single track that's barely trafficked once you're off the Elbert section. Honestly, I wouldn't recommend it South to North, or without a shuttle. Wouldn't be worth it.
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  • + 0
radbad (Jul 6, 2020 at 8:54)
July 1, 2020 covered in deadfall and clouds of mosquitos between Nez Perce and FS412. Very slow going
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radbad (Jul 6, 2020 at 8:53)
July 1, 2020 Covered in deadfall and clouds of mosquitos. Very slow going.
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Nvandeez (Jul 5, 2020 at 20:36)
As of summer 2020 you can bike the first segment of this trail then beer right to continue on segment along the water where bikes are now allowed.
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  • + 0
Simia (May 10, 2020 at 14:10)
Trail was cleared and mostly dry. The Northside of the main summit had 5-6 snowy switchback patches.
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Ejb2793 (Sep 21, 2019 at 7:12)
Clear except 1 place where hiking through avy debris is required; K1 chute?
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bizango-x (Aug 24, 2019 at 12:52)
The signs call this the Nez Perce trail. The motos have caused it to get pretty eroded and consequently it’s quite rocky. If you like techy rocky climbs, you will like this. The new section of the CDT where it forks is in much better shape.
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  • + 0
Brifry (Aug 8, 2019 at 19:04)
There are grizzlies moving through this area all the time. Even have been seen at the trail head and lower sections so be smart while in this area.
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Smashbv (Aug 5, 2019 at 21:57)
Cool historic trail.
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Smashbv (Aug 5, 2019 at 21:56)
If your priority is getting above tree line and enjoying some stunning views, this trail is for you. If you’re looking for great single track, there are better trails elsewhere. There is a ton of hike-a-bike on this trail.
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  • + 1
whoisadam (Jul 29, 2019 at 19:23)
Rode this trail and came down Greek Creek, rode this trail again and came down Agate Creek, so cant comment on the trial past Agate, but the 7.5 miles of this trail I have done is amazing, probably one of my favorite climbs, grade is not too steep, some fun rocks thrown in here and there, bits of fun downhill. I recommend going down Green Creek, that trail is a hoot and way more fun than Silver Creek and Rainbow in my opinion. Green has hardly any uphill and is an action packed downhill all the way with many fun turns, rock gardens, stream crossings. Silver was fun but not as fun as Green and was over quick. Rainbow is more of a cross country trail with tons of ups and downs if you're into that, no real sustained downhills until you get to the end of it.
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  • + 1
KBarb (Jul 25, 2019 at 14:41)
I started on the Peaks trail in Breck and then made my way up Miners Creek. The trail is chunky and pretty steep. Much of the area had a fire recently, which provides a change in scenery and gorgeous views. Bring your climbing legs!
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  • + 1
forkguardian Reporter (Sep 27, 2019 at 8:28)
FYI to users, fire was a little over two years ago. Obviously some sensitive soils, growth is being seen this year. Excited to see that piece come back to life.
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  • + 1
Flyplanes (Jul 17, 2019 at 12:39)
Rode from TH at Hwy 90 as an out-n-back. 5 miles up takes you to ridge line with excellent views of Butte MT and the valley. Trail is very well designed with switchbacks and nice tight single track. Trail was damp in places due to recent afternoon rain showers.
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  • + 0
trixy (Jul 15, 2019 at 17:28)
Open and ridding dry
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forkguardian Reporter (Jul 11, 2019 at 14:01)
Definitely one of the most popular trails in Summit. Lots of variation on ways to ride this, although most will do it East to West. Appropriate for a variety of skill levels.
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sothatwasepic (Jul 9, 2019 at 14:46)
7/1/19 - tons of snow, mud and avalanche debris
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  • + 0
PoGoSki (Jun 23, 2019 at 8:39)
The fairy trail is one of the most underrated and under-ridden gems in the CDT corridor! Fairly casual, consistent grade for climbing through beautiful boulders and forest to the summit. The descent has beautiful flow with an abundance of fun features to jump around on. Do it!!
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masonskis (May 5, 2019 at 17:43)
Probably should be rated as a black diamond.
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masonskis (Apr 12, 2019 at 17:26)
From Aldous Lake Trailhead to the lake is a well built trail, super fun up or down. From the lake to Trail Creek may be unmaintained for years at a time. From Trail Creek to at least Mule Meadows is good, great views along the actual Divide.
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  • + 1
BradMall (Jul 16, 2018 at 12:24)
Very fun ride, lots of sand in the trail and very dry. One of my favorite Sunday rides around butte. The downhill coming back towards homestake is a lot more fun in my opinion than going down Maud S. I usually do an out and back with my turn around point being where the maud s trail starts.
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  • + 0
Mts0987 (Jul 8, 2018 at 10:34)
Fallen trees across trail at various points. Been like this for some time.
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  • + 1
BradMall (Jun 28, 2018 at 11:37)
Ride up Maud S and took this trail to the Lady of the Rockies. Really fun ride, lots of rocks and lose sand on the trails, some steep spots but nothing unrideable. Once you get to the power line you have to hike through some really rugged rocky terrain to get to the Lady of the Rockies but it’s definitely worth it. There is signs saying no trespassing though fwi
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  • + 3
gflint (Sep 10, 2017 at 16:30)
From Homestake Pass the first mile or so is a bit of an ass kicker. After that it still climbs but it is very flowy. Super sweet. I only went in 5 miles then turned around. Coming back out is one of the best XC downhills you will ever do.
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  • + 0
caddishatch (Aug 15, 2017 at 13:22)
This is a great climb for 6 miles to the new section of CDT. Awesome downhill for 6 miles to your car or just continue on CDT as far as you want to go.
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