Continental Divide National Scenic Trail Facts

  • Congress designated the CDNST on November 10, 1978.
  • National Scenic Trails are created to provide for maximum outdoor recreation potential and for the conservation and enjoyment of the nationally significant scenic, historic, natural, or cultural qualities of the areas through which such Trails may pass.
  • Congress recognized the valuable contributions that volunteer and private, non-profit trail groups have made to the development and maintenance of the Nation’s trails. In recognition of those contributions, Congress further recognized that it was critical to encourage and assist volunteer citizen involvement in the planning, development and management, where appropriate, of these Trails.
  • The Vision of the Interagency Leadership Council for the CDNST is to complete the Trail to connect people and communities to the Continental Divide by providing scenic, high-quality, primitive hiking and horseback riding experiences, while preserving the significant natural, historic, and cultural resources along the Trail.
  • The CDNST is one of the most significant Trail Systems in the world. It stretches 3,100 miles along the spine of the Great Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico and provides access to some of the most wild and scenic places left in the world while promoting conservation of the environment and physical health and well being.
  • CDTC estimates that as of 2013, 76 % of the Trail is in its permanent location. Currently the official route which starts at the Canadian Border in Glacier National Park and ends in the Big Hatchets Wilderness Study Area on the Mexican Border, is mapped and hikeable.
  • Estimated Miles in each state and miles to “complete”:
  1. Montana/Idaho – 980 estimated miles, 350 miles to be completed
  2. Wyoming – 550 estimated miles, 80 miles to be completed
  3. Colorado – 800 estimated miles, 200 miles to be completed
  4. New Mexico – 775 estimated miles, 125 miles to be completed
  • Travels from Canada to Mexico through 25 National Forests, 21 Wilderness Areas, 3 National Parks, 1 National Monument, 8 BLM Resource Areas and through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico
  • Some segments of the CDNST remain open to motorized use, many of these segments make up some of the Trail locations we seek to relocate.
  • The Lead federal agency responsible for completing the CDNST is the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). They work with the National Park Service (NPS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the nonprofit partners to complete, maintain and manage the CDNST.
  • The Highest point on the CDNST is Grays Peak in Colorado (14,270 feet) and the lowest is along Waterton Lake in Glacier National Park in Montana ( 4,200 feet).