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  1. #1

    Default Continental Divide Trail

    I have heard of a Continental Divide Trail. How close does it follow the Continental Divide? Is it possible to follow the divide fairly accurately in New Mexico?

    Is it possible to follow the Salt Mission Trail or route used by Spanish explorers up from Mexico in the 1500s? Are there other trails of note in New Mexico? What about hiking the Santa Fe Trail from the east to Santa Fe or the Spanish trail from Santa Fe to the west coast?

  2. #2
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    Default

    Take a look at this.
    http://www.cdtrail.org/
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  3. #3
    Swampyankee
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    Default

    There are a number of good books out there including Where The Waters Divide by Karen Barger which reminds me of a well done trail journal. A number of guide books around also.

  4. #4
    2005 Camino de santiago
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    Default

    CDT
    The above link's first two paragraphs begin with:

    In 1978, Congress made a monumental decision, one that secured the future of the most scenic, wild and remote landscapes in America. They designated the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT), also known as the "King of Trails".

    The vision for the CDT is a 3,100-mile primitive and challenging backcountry trail from Canada to Mexico along the backbone of America.

    Here are other links/CDT information you will find useful:

    http://www.aldhawest.org/

    http://www.gorp.com/cdts/

    There are some notable differences between the AT & CDTand here are a few that I am familiar with:
    1. The AT is well marked with white blazes. The CDT is not. It does have an occasional CDT sign, rock cairn or blaze cut into a tree to guide you but you may not see one for hours, or perhaps days, depending on where you are.
    2. A well-delineated footpath is the norm on the AT but on the CDT it often disappears completely, especially above treeline, and oftentimes you find yourself searching for the route, like where it opens up onto an Alpine meadow.
    3. Whereas map and compass are not necessary for successfully navigating the AT it is a necessity on the CDT, plus the ability to use them. The GPS is a boon here as it vastly simplifies navigation. Your maps are not always correct, there are numerous trail junctions either not on your maps or at other places than indicate; the list goes on.
    4. Whereas the AT can, and has been called, a "social" trail, on the CDT you may go for days before seeing anyone. Resupply is much more difficult because the distances are much greater between sources of resupplyand you have to carry more food to get you from one source of resupply to another.
    4. The CDT does not follow directly the divide but ambles along, across, near, and at times far from it. In your state of New Mexico, where a great deal of the land is in private hands, there is a fair amount of road walking on the designated route, a lot of which changes from year to year. However, you are free to venture off into the mountains alongside if desired. Look at Jim Wolfe's guides to New Mexico CDT for sale in the links above.
    5. There is an "official", "designated" route and a "suggested" route and oftentimes thruhikers are forced to bypass some portions when passage is blocked with snow after a hard winter. The Creed bypass comes to mind in he San Juans of Colorado. The northbounder starting at the Mexican border in May, arrives in the San Juans in June and oftentimes last year's snow has not melted enough to safely pass.
    6. I could go on but this gives you an idea.

    I am planning a trip from in July 2004, after the snows have melted, going from Chama, NM to lake City, Co for 200+ miles along the CDT. Resupply to be in Pagosa Springs and maybe Silverton, depending on my speed. The elevation will average 11,000' or better and some of it is in excess of 13,000 feet. To say it is only beautiful is an understatement for it is a sight to behold. Some call it God's country, a place where He goes when he needs a break. You are fortunate to live in a state where the CDT passses through

  5. #5

    Default CDT in New Mexico

    The actual Continental Divide runs about 3100 miles - but the trail doesn't actually follow that, not all the way. The trail generally goes within 20 miles of the Divide, but especially in NM, it isn't always all that close. Although you are usually quite high and do a lot of ridge walking, it isn't always on the Divide. In some places, following the divide is physically impossible, except perhaps for rock climbers, in some places political reasons required a route away from the Divide (i.e. NM). Most thruhikers actually travel between 2400 and 2800 miles on the CDT, depending on the routes chosen. There are a lot of options along the way.

    The problem with following the Divide in New Mexico is that 1) in some places you can't really discern the divide, as it isn't much higher than the surrounding land, 2) the Divide really winds, especially in the south, and 3) a lot of it goes through private lands - ranches and mines especially - that don't allow trespassers. The CDT routes in NM try to go through National Forest and BLM land (public land) as much as possible. The routes are good ones though, passing through some beautiful areas. I loved the Gila especially and the area around the Chama River/Ghost Ranch - but all of the trail was interesting. There was a fair amount of dirt road walking, and water sources are often shared with cattle and hence not very appetizing but we enjoyed it.

  6. #6
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    Default Trail "Ads" Raise Questions

    Denver Post

    "The Continental Divide Trail, spanning 3,100 miles along the spine of the Rocky Mountains, is meant to be one of the nation's great hiking routes. Conceived in the vein of the famous Appalachian Trail and the somewhat lesser known Pacific Crest Trail, its builders wanted it to have the same venerable reputation.
    But there is at least one small difference: advertising.
    Unlike its historic predecessors, built three-quarters of a century ago, the Continental Divide Trail is getting large donations from business to complete the project. In return, businesses get to put their corporate logos on signs at trailheads along the way."

    Below is link to rest of story:

    http://www.americantrails.org/resour...NSTadvert.html

  7. #7

    Default

    In my opinion, one of the ultimate challenges of the "lower 48" would be to hike/climb the ACTUAL Continental Divide.
    I think you would need support, a partner, and of course lots of climbing experience as well as lots of permission as much of it in NM is on private land. I would attempt it doing one state per year.
    but then, i have a one year old now so it is not going to happen for me.
    Maybe some one else will get the same dream who is eligible.
    The Divide is the BEST!

  8. #8

    Default

    We met a guy in Colorado who had followed the actual Divide through that state with his brother. His mother had also done most of it. After meeting them we would look up at the divide and think, "Could I?" I'm not that good a climber, but if you are it is doable, but as Fiddlehead said, you would probably only want to do one state at a time as the going is so much slower.

    And to reprise something that was said above, no a GPS is not necessary, not any more, not if you can read a map halfway decently. The trail is much better marked than it used to be. We followed signs for the first 40 miles of NM and they were planning to mark the next section this summer. There is also less roadwalking than there used to be. Some thruhikers chose to follow roads, but you don't have to.

  9. #9

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    I'd much rather it never be marked.
    I like the challenges and freedom of no trail.

  10. #10
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    Default Where is the divide

    I suspect it would be quite difficult to try and walk along the actual divide, mainly because it is often difficult to say with any certainty exactly where it is. The divide is not always well defined by a topographical knife edge. It follows rolling hills of the alpine tundra up high, too. With good topos and compass a huge amount of time would be dedicated to navigation, bushwacking, route-finding. which would slow one down considerably. It would certainly be a challenge, if that was what one wished. Even now, just trying to follow the established route and unmarked trek in some places is a challenge.

  11. #11
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    Default

    I have a relatively simple question for those who have done the CDT recently:


    Is this trail actually "finished" yet, insofar as it no longer has "gaps" where one has to either bushwack, orienteer their way on their own across the gaps, or go for long stretches down roads?



    Whenever I read an article on the latest progress of the CDT, even as recent as a "few" years ago, they constantly mention that gaps remain in the trail, and that it may be completed in "just a few more years." Only, I keep reading the same thing, every few years, about how it will be completed in just 'a few more years.'

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by East Coast Alex View Post
    I have a relatively simple question for those who have done the CDT recently:


    Is this trail actually "finished" yet, insofar as it no longer has "gaps" where one has to either bushwack, orienteer their way on their own across the gaps, or go for long stretches down roads?



    Whenever I read an article on the latest progress of the CDT, even as recent as a "few" years ago, they constantly mention that gaps remain in the trail, and that it may be completed in "just a few more years." Only, I keep reading the same thing, every few years, about how it will be completed in just 'a few more years.'
    There are a lot of road walks in those gaps. Many take roads when there are trails, making the trail hundreds of miles shorter and also, additional hundreds of miles easier. Even so, it has been more than a little complicated trying to complete. I think everyone involved has been doing best they know. I'd suggest doing it as soon as possible, whichever way you want!

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