Continental Divide Trail

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The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (in short Continental Divide Trail (CDT)) is a United States National Scenic Trail running 3,100 miles (5,000 km) between Mexico and Canada. It follows the Continental Divide of the Americas along the Rocky Mountains and traverses five U.S. states — Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. In Montana it crosses Triple Divide Peak which separates the Hudson Bay, Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean drainages. The trail is a combination of dedicated trails and small roads and considered 70% complete. Portions designated as uncompleted must be traveled by roadwalking on dirt or paved roads.

Only about two hundred people a year attempt to hike the entire trail, taking about six months to complete it. Dave Odell thru-hiked in 1977 and in the same year Dan Torpey hiked from the NM/CO border to Mt Robson, Canada. German long-distance rider Günter Wamser (on his way from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska), and Austrian Sonja Endlweber (who joined him for the rest of the journey from Mexico) managed to complete the tour with four Bureau of Land Management mustangs in three summers 2007–09.

In 2007, Francis Tapon became the first person to do a round backpacking trip “Yo-Yo” on the Continental Divide Trail when he thru-hiked from Mexico to Canada and back to Mexico along the CDT and needed 7 months to finish it. This seven-month journey spanned over 5,600 miles. Tapon took the most circuitous, scenic, high, difficult route north and while returning south, took the more expedient route. Andrew Skurka completed the trail as part of the 6,875-mile Great Western Loop in 2007.

The youngest person to hike the trail is Reed Gjonnes, who hiked the trail with her father Eric Gjonnes from April 15 to September 6, 2013 at the age of 13.

The Continental Divide Trail along with the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail form what thru-hiker enthusiasts have termed the Triple Crown of long-distance hiking in the United States.

This trail can be continued north into Canada to Kakwa Lake north of Jasper National Park by the Great Divide Trail, which is so far described only in a few books and carries no official Canadian status.

Colorado

The CDT passes through many of the highest and wildest mountain regions of Colorado, such as the San Juan Mountains in southern Colorado and the Sawatch Range in the central region. In most areas the trail is well marked. It is concurrent with the Colorado Trail for approximately 200 miles (320 km). The CDT itself meanders in Colorado some 650 miles (1,050 km) at higher altitudes. Depending on any given year’s snow-pack and a hiker’s individual schedule, alternative routes are available. The Creed Cut-off in the San Juan Mountains to avoid persistent snow or unfavorable weather is such an example. This should be balanced with Colorado’s ‘monsoon season’ with afternoon thunderstorms that usually occur in late July and August. The route’s location makes short side trips to many of Colorado’s 14,000-foot (4,300 m) peaks feasible. A few stretches of the CDT in Colorado have no distinct marked or named trail, but Jonathan Ley’s or Jim Wolf’s maps are helpful. The Continental Divide Trail in Colorado has been surveyed recently by Jerry Brown and colleagues. Some stretches of the CDT in Colorado are still a wilderness footpath.

Additional points of interest along the Colorado CDT include:

  • Collegiate Peaks Wilderness
  • Grays Peak – highest summit on the CDT
  • Mount Elbert and Mount Massive – Colorado’s highest peaks
  • Rabbit Ears Pass
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Wolf Creek Pass
  • North Park
  • Middle Park
  • South Park

The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail is a 3,100-mile trail that runs on or near the Continental Divide, from Canada to Mexico. However, the route is not complete. Most of the route through Colorado has been designated, though some sections of trail are not built. From Rollins Pass south to James Peak, the trail is designated with CDT-branded markers (photo). Spectacular views along this trail overlook the lakes within the James Peak Wilderness.

The South Boulder Creek Trail reaches the Divide at Rogers Pass. From here, the Continental Divide Trail traverses the steep west slope of the Divide towards James Peak on an old road grade. The road grade turns off the Divide at the Ute Trail. The Continental Divide Trail continues to the summit of James Peak.

Permit Info: Sections of this trail enter into the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, which requires camping permits for all overnight trips between June 1 and September 15. Organized groups are required to have a permit for both camping and day-hiking year round. Overnight permits cost $5 per group, per trip from June 1 through September 15. Day-hiking permits are free year round.
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: Sections of this trail enter into the Indian Peaks (see the “Permit Info” section) and James Peak Wilderness Areas. Restrictions apply:

  • Motorized and mechanized vehicles are prohibited.
  • Pets must be on a hand-held leash at all times.
  • Campfires prohibited.
  • Campsites must be at least 100 feet away from water and trail.
  • Group size is limited to 12 (people and livestock combined).

Fishing and hunting: permitted in accordance with regulations established by the Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

Closest Towns: Rollinsville, Colorado
Water: None
Restroom: Practice Leave No Trace principles
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service
Information Center: Boulder Ranger District, 2140 Yarmouth Ave, Boulder, CO 80301

Directions: There are no trailheads on Boulder Ranger District that serve the Continental Divide Trail. It can be hiked to via South Boulder Creek Trail and Forest Lakes Trail.

Stats

  • Trail Measurement: 3,100 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 38°58'41.5"N
  • Compass Longitude: 106°26'58.2"W
  • Numeric Latitude: 38.978206
  • Numeric Longitude: -106.449510
  • Elevation in Meters: 1,200 to 4,350 (3,557 to 4,052)
  • Elevation in Feet: 3,900 to 14,270 (11,670 to 13,294 in Colorado)

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References

Mesa Trail

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GPS Trailhead Locations:
Chautauqua Park: N39 59.930 W105 16.970
NCAR:  N39.978277, W105.276077
South Mesa: N39 56.326 W105 15.493Stats

  • Trail Measurement: 6.8 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 39°56'19.5"N
  • Compass Longitude: 105°15'29.2"W
  • Numeric Latitude: 39.938758
  • Numeric Longitude: -105.258124
  • Elevation in Meters: 1740
  • Elevation in Feet: 5710

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References

  • None

Thunder Lake Trail

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Thunder Lake Trail-Bluebird Lake Trail

The Thunder Lake Trail-Bluebird Lake Trail near Allens Park, Colorado was built in 1926. It was designed by National Park Service architects and was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It includes Late 19th and Early 20th Century American Movements, Rustic, and other architecture. The trail subsumes or is associated with Ouzel Lake Trail, the Arbuckle Lake(s) Trail, the Wild Basin Trail, and the North St. Vrain Creek Trail.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. The listing included 24.6 acres (10.0 ha) with one contributing structure.

Thunder Lake Patrol Cabin

The Thunder Lake Patrol Cabin is a small structure in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Built in 1930, the 12-foot (3.7 m) by 16-foot (4.9 m) cabin may have been built as a simple shelter, but has more recently been used on an occasional basis as a backcountry patrol cabin in the Wild Basin area. The one story one-room log cabin is not used in the winter, but does have a stove with a stone fireplace. The main cabin is gable-roofed, with a small shed-roofed porch, and is a good example of the National Park Service rustic style. The logs are saddle-notched, projecting an increasing distance at their ends from top to bottom.

The Thunder Lake Cabin was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 29, 1988.[1]

Stats

  • Trail Measurement: 8.7 Miles and 24.6 Acres
  • Compass Latitude: 40°12'06.1"N
  • Compass Longitude: 105°36'13.5"W
  • Numeric Latitude: 40.201688
  • Numeric Longitude: -105.603758
  • Elevation in Meters: 2,875 to 3,530
  • Elevation in Feet: 9,431 to 11,582

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References

Allens Park Trail

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The Allens Park Trail is a trail located in Colorado.

10% average grade
22% maximum grade

Stats

  • Trail Measurement: 2.4 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 401140N
  • Compass Longitude: 1053246W
  • Numeric Latitude: 40.1944295
  • Numeric Longitude: -105.5461113
  • Elevation in Meters: 2,625 to 2,949
  • Elevation in Feet: 8,613 to 9,676

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References

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Cradleboard Trail

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The Cradleboard Trail is a trail located in Colorado.

Stats

  • Trail Measurement: 1.4 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 395630N
  • Compass Longitude: 1050621W
  • Numeric Latitude: 39.941791
  • Numeric Longitude: -105.105815
  • Elevation in Meters: 1,623 to 1,606
  • Elevation in Feet: 5,326 to 5,269

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References

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Mount Audubon Trail

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Mount Audubon Trail

1,900 feet elevation

The Beaver Creek Trail enters the Indian Peaks Wilderness and climbs through the trees for 1.7 miles. The Mount Audubon Trail turns left (west).

The Mount Audubon Trail continues to climb above timberline. Two steeper sections appear near the middle and end of the trail.

The developed trail ends at the saddle where there is a view down into the Coney Lake drainage. For the final half-mile and 600 vertical feet, follow the rock cairns up the talus to the summit.

Current Conditions: Winter 2016: Roads and trailhead lots are closed. Use the Brainard Gateway Trailhead for free non-motorized access. Winter regulations apply (Nov 15 – Apr 30).
Fees Brainard Lake Recreation Area fees apply during the summer operating season (typically mid/late-June through late September)
Permit Info: This trail lies within the Four Lakes Backcountry Zone of the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area:

  • Camping is prohibited in the Four Lakes Backcountry Zone from May 1 through November 30.
  • Organized groups are required to have a permit for both camping and day-hiking year round.
Usage: Heavy
Best Season: June – October
Restrictions: Indian Peak Wilderness restrictions apply:

  • Camping is prohibited on this trail from May 1 through Nov 30.
  • Motorized and mechanized vehicles are prohibited.
  • Pets must be on a hand-held leash at all times.
  • Campfires prohibited.
  • Campsites must be at least 100 feet away from water and trail.
  • Group size is limited to 12.
  • Packstock (horses, llamas etc.) are prohibited.

Fishing and hunting: permitted in accordance with regulations established by the Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

Closest Towns: Ward, Colorado
Water: None
Restroom: Practice Leave No Trace principles
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service
Information Center: Boulder Ranger District, 2140 Yarmouth Ave, Boulder, CO 80301

Directions:

From Colorado Highway 72 at Ward, turn west onto the Brainard Lake Road. Travel 2.5 miles to the entrance portal, and continue another three miles to Beaver Creek Trailhead.

Day Hiking

This trail is within the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. It diverges west from Beaver Creek Trail and climbs steeply to the top of Mount Audubon. The entire trail is above treeline. The last stretch of trail is not formally constructed – follow the rock cairns over the talus to the top of the peak.

Fire Information Campfires are prohibited year-round.
Elevation desc This trail gains 1,900 feet in elevation, all of it above treeline.
Difficulty Level: Difficult

Stats

  • Trail Measurement: 3.8 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 400610N
  • Compass Longitude: 1053612W
  • Numeric Latitude: 40.1027638
  • Numeric Longitude: -105.6033353
  • Elevation in Meters: 3200 to 4030
  • Elevation in Feet: 10500 to 13223

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References

Waldrop North Trail

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The Waldrop North Trail is a trail located in Colorado.

Stats

  • Trail Measurement: 4.3 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 400458N
  • Compass Longitude: 1053248W
  • Numeric Latitude: 40.0827639
  • Numeric Longitude: -105.5466664
  • Elevation in Meters: 3,111
  • Elevation in Feet: 10,207

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References

  • None

Allens Park-Wild Basin Trail

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The Allens Park-Wild Basin Trail is a trail located in Colorado.

Stats

  • Trail Measurement:
  • Compass Latitude: 401152N
  • Compass Longitude: 1053422W
  • Numeric Latitude: 40.1977629
  • Numeric Longitude: -105.572779
  • Elevation in Meters: 2,945
  • Elevation in Feet: 9,662

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References

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Devils Thumb Trail

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From the trailhead, cross the footbridge and take the Devils Thumb Trail, which climbs steeply for about a half-mile on an old road. The Devils Thumb Bypass turns right (north) just before the second bridge.

The bypass trail is shorter and crosses open meadows to the north of the creek, but it bypasses intersections with King Lake and Woodland Lake trails.

This trail enters into the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Diamond Lake Trail forks right (north) about a half-mile before the trail reaches Jasper Lake. Jasper Lake is surrounded on three sides with trees and a steep ridgeline to the north.

The trail continues another mile to Devils Thumb Lake, and a mile beyond that to the Continental Divide.

Permit Info: This trail lies within the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area:

  • Camping permits required for all overnight trips between June 1 and September 15. Overnight permits cost $5 per group, per trip from June 1 through September 15.
  • Organized groups are required to have a permit for both camping and day-hiking year round. Day-hiking permits are free.
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: Indian Peak Wilderness restrictions apply:

  • Motorized and mechanized vehicles are prohibited.
  • Pets must be on a hand-held leash at all times.
  • Campfires prohibited.
  • Campsites must be at least 100 feet away from water and trail.
  • Group size is limited to 12 (people and livestock combined).

Fishing and hunting: permitted in accordance with regulations established by the Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

Closest Towns: Nederland, Colorado
Water: Lakes and streams; treat water for drinking.
Restroom: Practice Leave No Trace principles
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service
Information Center: Boulder Ranger District, 2140 Yarmouth Ave, Boulder, CO 80301

Directions:
From Nederland, head south on Colorado Highway 119 for a half-mile. Turn west onto County Road 130, signed for Eldora. Follow the paved road through the valley to the Town of Eldora, where the pavement ends. Continue beyond the end of the pavement for 0.75 miles to the fork in the road. The left fork goes to Hessie Trailhead.

Day Hiking

This trail is among the most popular trails in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. It extends from Hessie Trailhead for 6.5 miles to the Continental Divide. Along the way, it passes Jasper Lake and Devils Thumb Lake. The trail intersects Lost Lake Trail, King Lake Trail, Woodland Lake Trail, and Diamond Lake Trail.

Difficulty Level: Intermediate to Difficult

Backpacking

Fire Information Campfires are prohibited year-round.
Difficulty Level: Intermediate to Difficult
Area/Length : 
Hessie Trailhead to: Jasper Lake 4.5 miles; Devils Thumb Lake – 5.5 miles; Continental Divide – 6.5

Stats

  • Trail Measurement: 4.5, 5.5, and 6.5 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 395827N
  • Compass Longitude: 1053957W
  • Numeric Latitude: 39.9741537
  • Numeric Longitude: -105.6658369
  • Elevation in Meters: 3,018 to 3,695
  • Elevation in Feet: 9,000 to 12,123

If you have information about this trail please fill out the Add/Edit Trail form.

References

Niwot Cut-Off Trail

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The Niwot Cut-Off Trail is a trail located in Colorado.

Stats

  • Trail Measurement:
  • Compass Latitude: 400429N
  • Compass Longitude: 1053446W
  • Numeric Latitude: 40.0747084
  • Numeric Longitude: -105.5794453
  • Elevation in Meters: 3194
  • Elevation in Feet: 10479

If you have information about this trail please fill out the Add/Edit Trail form.

References

  • None