Continental Divide Trail partners, communities gearing up for another season of activity


The month of April marks the beginning of the height of the season on the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT), with locals and visitors alike flocking to get outdoors as temperatures rise and snow begins to melt. 

This year thousands of visitors will explore sections of the CDT and many will even attempt to hike the trail in its entirety from the borders of Mexico to Canada. Early estimates place the number of likely thru-hikers, or CDT visitors attempting to hike the trail in its entirety, around 800-1,000 thru-attempts in the 2024 season. 

Renowned as one of the most remote and scenic long-distance trails in the world, the CDT traverses the spine of the continent, spanning 3,100 miles through the states of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. 

Connecting more than 20 designated CDT Gateway Communities and dozens of other Rocky Mountain rural communities, the CDT provides access to some of the most iconic landscapes in the West, including Old Faithful in Yellowstone, the towering 14,000-foot peaks of Colorado, the first designated wilderness in the Gila, and the glaciers of Glacier National Park.

“Springtime in the Rocky Mountain West is a time of awakening and re-emergence. For northbound travelers along the CDT, it is also the time of excitement and anticipation for the adventure that awaits them as they travel along the major watershed of North America and follow the spring melt along the way,” said Teresa Martinez, executive director at the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC). “For some, it will set in motion lifelong dreams of a journey across the continent and all the lessons, discoveries, and relationships they will forge along the way. The reward is the experience of knowing they have journeyed along one of the most special places on the North American continent and that their stories are now intertwined.”

In Colorado, the CDT travels 750 miles following the Continental Divide from the San Juans to the south, moving north connecting with Rocky Mountain National Park and up through the Medicine Bow Mountains. The CDT connects Pagosa Springs, South Fork, Lake City, Salida, Leadville/Twin Lakes, Grand Lake and Steamboat Springs, and provides a gateway to the outdoors for locals and a boost for the regional economy. 

In a 2023 survey of 134 small business owners, 71 percent of businesses in designated CDT Gateway Communities reported seeing an increase in traffic from trail users. 

The CDTC is the main private partner in the stewardship of the CDT and provides hiking resources such as day and overnight hiking guides, as well as a CDT Interactive Map, to better plan visits to the trail for users of all types and experience levels. 

Peak season is a critical time for stewards and volunteers of the CDT, too, with CDT partners organizing dozens of projects each year to build, maintain and complete the trail. 

In 2023, the CDTC and other partner organizations contributed more than 32,033 volunteer hours valued at $1.19 million through volunteer projects, community stewardship events and trail adopters. 

The 2024 season promises another exciting year on the CDT, with volunteer opportunities and community events planned across the trail this year. 

About the CDTC

The CDTC was founded in 2012 by volunteers and recreationists hoping to provide a unified voice for the trail. Working hand-in-hand with the U.S. Forest Service and other federal land management agencies, the CDTC is a nonprofit partner supporting stewardship of the CDT. 

The mission of the CDTC is to complete, promote and protect the CDT as a world-class national resource. 

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