3,100 mile route following the Continental Divide of the Americas along the Rocky Mountains

  • field
  • peak
  • beautiful storm
  • window_out
  • geyser
  • pink flowers
  • stream fence
  • map
  • alpine meadow
  • ptarmigan pass
  • on the trail snack
  • state line
  • hey duke
  • wide trail
  • snow field
The CDT in 2010 was a choose your own adventure trail that ran anywhere between 2,500 and 3,100 miles between Mexico and Canada. The route stays close to the Continental Divide that separates the waters of the western US from the eastern rivers, following this rocky spine of the continent through dry and colorful southwestern deserts, the open sage scrub of the great basin desert, and the high peaks and plateaus of the rockies.

The wildness along the divide is unparalleled in the rest of the lower 48, with wolves both in New Mexico and up north in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. Grizzly Bears dig roots and munch grubs from Yellowstone to Glacier, and wolverines and lynx roam the northern reaches of the trail. Giant herds of Elk kick up dust throughout the Rockies, Bighorn Sheep chow down on alpine flowers, and shaggy Bison graze trailside in Yellowstone. And that’s just the big mammals, I haven’t even mentioned the birds, reptiles, plants… The CDT feels vast, and as a hiker I felt small, but connected to something bigger than me.

My hike of the CDT was probably about 2,800 miles, but it’s hard to say. I became comfortable with being misplaced during my hike of the CDT. I chose to start at the Crazy Cook Terminus (there are three starting points) and walked north through New Mexico. In Colorado I braved the San Juans and their snow rather than opting for the Creed Cutoff, but chose to take the Anaconda Cutoff in order to skip the noisy & dusty ORV roads near Butte, MT. These are just two examples of the route choices available on the divide. Every day I had the opportunity to go my own way, to make my hike my own. Staying found took constant vigilance, and put my map and compass skills to a 114 day long test. I fell in love with the navigation challenge of the CDT.

View a map of the route here!


Item # Item Description Weight (oz)
#1 Osprey Exos 34 28
#2 little green tarp 8
#3 pro-lite extra short 8
#4 ground sheet 2
#5 30′ sleeping bag 24
#6 tent stakes 3
#7 2 puffy jackets 18
#8 Rain Gear (yes I wear rain pants..) 14
#9 3 sil ny stuff sacks 3.5
#10 Peek Device 4
#11 mp3 player & headphones 4
#12 Charger & tips 4
#13 long underwear 4
#14 gloves 4
#15 Three pairs of socks 9
#16 hats- sun & warm 6
#17 Toiletries: Tooth brush, sunscreen, chappy, floss, meds, head lamp, lighter, knife 8
#18 Journal bag: maps, journal, pen, stamps 10
#19 extra insoles (I switch them often to reduce my foot pain) 6
#20 Water bottle 2
#21 Stuff on my body & in my hands: Trekking poles (16 oz), hiking skirt (8 oz?), Shoes (2 lbs?), shirt & bra (8oz?) 64 ounces, but should this count in the base weight? if so I am up to 15lbs. 0
All Items Sub-Totals: 10.6 lbs