CDT Home

Continental Divide National Scenic Trail

The CDT is a 3100-mile trail that follows the crest of the Rocky Mountains from the Montana/Canadian border to the New Mexico/Mexican border. Developed to help plan a hike along the trail.

This is not a step-by-step account of the CDT. Nor is it a description of every hill and switchback that you will encounter along the way. There are countless guidebooks to follow for that purpose. What this is intended to be is your guide to planning, whether your goal is a thru hike along the trail or segment hiking. Developing this guide many guidebooks were consulted.

The Montana – Idaho section of the CDT begins at the Canadian border and traverses south through Glacier National Park traveling along the Livingston Range. Traversing the Lewis and Clark Range, you pass through Flathead National Forest, Lewis and Clark National Forest and The Bob Marshall, Scapegoat Wilderness Complex. Crossing the Continental Divide a number of times you continue south through Helena National Forest.

While in Deerlodge National Forest, the divide trail continues south through the Highland Mountains then turns westward along the Anaconda Range into Beaverhead National Forest, and the Anaconda – Pinter Wilderness. Near the Montana – Idaho border the trail turns back towards the south and follows the Beaverhead Range through Beaverhead and Salmon National Forests. At the south end of this range, the trail continues eastward through the Targhee National Forest and this segment ends at Macks Inn, Idaho.


The Continental Divide Trail (CDT) is more of a conglomeration of routes rather than one specific long trail furthermore; muchCDT Map Exampkle of the route is unmarked or trail-less. It is said that no two hikers will follow the same route unless they are hiking together. In many instances, the Designated Route may not be the most desirable. The option is yours. The maps have the Designated Route highlighted in magenta. Alternate Routes are highlighted in yellow, although when the Alternate Route is the Preferred Route it will be noted in blue. At some locations, the need to hike to a town for supplies may present itself. These routes, Trails to Towns (T2T), are highlighted in green.

The Continental Divide Trail is highlighted on the provided map. The trail, marked by colors as mentioned above. When a highlighted trail is clicked the label appears. These labels correspond to both the “Route Highlights” and the “Waypoints, Mileage and Elevation Gain & Loss”.

Route Highlights

The “Route Highlights” list the route sections in order from north to south. The labels match the labels for each section on the maps. The colors match as well. The designated trail will always appear first followed by any Preferred or alternate.

Waypoints, Mileage and Elevation Gain & Loss

The “Waypoints, Mileage and Elevation Gain & Loss” table has all the routes listed from north to south and matches the Route Highlights. The section number (Sec) numbered from north to south. Whole numbers mark Designated trails. preferred trails are numbered with a P whereas alternate routes will have a number followed by an A. Designated trail are always first. The other trails follow. A name describes each waypoint. the waypoint is followed by its latitude and Longitude. These waypoints are computed using WGS 84 datum. Next, the table shows the altitude of the waypoint. In the Dst column is the distance between waypoints. The TtL Dist is cumulative distance in each section. The next two columns have the maximum and minimum altitude along the route followed by total altitude gain and loss.

Waypoint Altitude and Mileage

As this is just a planning guide the need for waypoint will vary in distance and are there mainly to help identify the route.

CDT Segment Links


Border to East Glacier Park Segment 01 East Glacier Park to Benchmark Segment 02
Benchmark to Rogers Pass Segment 03 Rogers Pass to MacDonald Pass Segment 04
MacDonald Pass to Homestake Segment 05 Homestake to Lost Trail Pass Segment 06
Lost Tril Pass to Bannock Pass Segment 07 Bannock Pass to Bannack Pass Segment 08
Bannack Pass to Macks Inn Segment 09



New Mexico

by John Dragotto