Continental Divide Trail or in short CDT follows along the water divide between Pacific and Gulf of Mexico / Atlantic. The trail is between 2.400 and 3.000 miles long. The distance varies due to the fact that there are several start and end points at both the Canadian and the Mexican border. Currently only about 80% of the trail follows the final planned route yet. The CDT is one of the three trails that comprise the "Triple Crown" (Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail). All three are running North-South.
I have hiked all three trails.
The trail passes through five US-States: New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. In Colorado it follows the same route as the Colorado Trail. Here the highest elevations are above 12.000 feet. More information can be found at WIKIPEDIA at this link.
In 2014 I hiked this trail from border to border.
I have listed the trail in South-North directions. How I actually hiked is a different story. I started from the Mexican border and hiked to Pagosa Springs, then Encampment to East Glacier Park, Chief Mountain to East Glacier Park and finally Encampment to Pagosa Springs. Due to high snow levels in Colorado I had to jump ahead and hike this state as my last part; but now without snow. In Glacier NP I was forced to hike in North-South direction as I only got camp grounds assigned this way.
Due to these changes I had quite a few long car rides: Pagosa Springs - Denver - Encampment, East Park Glacier - Chief Mountain, East Park Glacier - Spokane (Washington) - Encampment and Pagosa Springs - Denver. Finally I flew from Denver to Calgary to catch my return flight to Hamburg.
In 2014 I walked from Yellowstone NP straight north via the town of Ennis. In 2016 I followed the alternate along the divide from Butte until south of Yellowstone NP.
Like during my thruhike of the PCT I didn't carry any paper maps. Instead everything was loaded on my smart phone. To have a screen as large as possible combined with a good camera I bought the Experia arc S from Sony. This gave me the following options within one piece of equipment:
- Free of charge PDF maps from Ley
- Software BackCountry Navigator with detailed trail from Bear Creek (the maps were downloaded before starting as not to require an internet connection)
- Town description from Yogi as PDF
- Skype via WIFI
and than of course a telephone
This not only allowed me to save a lot of weight but I could use the build in GPS to determine my exact position with BackCountry Navigator something I had to do several times.
I recharged the cell phone whenever I could. Additionally I carried the small solar charger Arctic c1 mobile. This gave me enough power to always be able to use the phone. To avoid roaming fees I bought a prepaid SIM card with US phone number from AT&T. Their coverage in the trail communities was reasonable except for Wyoming. AT&T uses the service of another supplier who does not accept prepaid cards. There are only very few pay phones left.