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Continental Divide Trail (CDT) Thru Hike Guide & Journals

Continental Divide Trail Thru Hike Guide

Miles: 2998    Days: 165    Elevation Gain: 470,284ft    Dates: NOBO, April 21st – October 2nd

Famous’ 2018 Continental Divide Trail Journal Entries By State

New Mexico

Crazy Cook to Lordsburg
Lordsburg to Silver City
Silver City to Doc Campbell’s Post
Doc Campbell’s Post to Pie Town
Pie Town to Grants
Grants to Cuba
Cuba to Ghost Ranch
Ghost Ranch to Chama


Chama to Pagosa Springs
Pagosa Springs to Lake City
Lake City to Salida
Salida to Twin Lakes
Twin Lakes to Breckenridge
Breckenridge to I70 (Frisco)
I70 (Frisco) to Grand Lake
Grand Lake to Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs to Encampment


Encampment to Rawlins
Rawlins to Lander
Lander to Dubois
Dubois to Jackson
Jackson to Flagg Ranch
Flagg Ranch to Old Faithful
Old Faithful to Macks Inn


Macks Inn to Lima
Lima to Leadore
Leadore to Darby
Darby to Anaconda
Anaconda to Lincoln
Lincoln to East Glacier
East Glacier to Canada

View/Hide A Descriptive Overview Of Each CDT Section Hiked


CDT Journal Entries – Detailed View Of Each Section Hiked

cdt trail journal - hiker at the southern terminus crazy cook monument at the mexico border

Crazy Cook to Lordsburg – 91 Miles

April 21st – April 25th, Trail Days 1-5. Total Hike Miles – 91

The CDT starts here at Crazy Cook monument on the border of New Mexico and Mexico. There’s only a dilapidated barbed wire fence marking the border. From here, I’ll hike north through New Mexico’s Bootheel to Lordsburg. Water is scarce here… it’s dry, windy and hot! Like most desert hikes I’ve done, it has a very ancient and primitive feel to it that cannot be duplicated in any other environment. There’s also a lot more wildlife here than you’d think. Taking those first steps of a 3000 mile journey was probably the most overwhelming feeling of my life.



cdt thru hike 2018 photo between lordsburg and silver city - cdt journal

Lordsburg to Silver City – 55 Miles

April 26th – April 29th, Trail Days 6-9. Total Hike Miles – 146

The first part of this section, out of Lordsburg, was flat and hot. But, This is a good section because the landscape transitions from desert to rolling hills and lots of trees. It’s hard not to like that after 100+ miles of desert. Unique environment and a good sign of progress towards more interesting landscapes.



cdt thru hike 2018 photo between silver city and doc campbell's post - cdt journal

Silver City to Doc Campbell’s Post – 65 Miles

April 30th – May 3rd, Trail Days 10-13. Total Hike Miles – 212

After leaving Silver City, it’s a road walk up Little Walnut Creek Rd into the hills. This is the beginning of a 300+ mile stretch of no cell phone service for us AT&T customers. This stretch begins the Gila National Forest, a much anticipated section of trail. No more open desert, more trees and hills, and lots more water, towards the end of this stretch.


cdt thru hike 2018 photo between doc campbell's post and pie town - cdt journal

Doc Campbell’s Post to Pie Town – 145 Miles

May 4th – May 11th, Trail Days 14-21. Total Hike Miles – 357

After visiting the optional Gila Cliff Dwellings, it’s wet feet all day, hundreds of river crossings and remote country through the Middle Fork Gila River. Many deem this to be the highlight of New Mexico and a favorite section of the entire CDT. There are numerous hot springs, namely the Jordan Hot Springs. The Middle Fork Gila River ends at Snow Lake, after which the terrain resembles Wyoming briefly. The trail then wanders through what I called “The Sea of Gold”, a massive view of rolling hills and golden grasses. Then it’s a long and boring walk along Bursum Rd before climbing back up into the hills. A 40 mile road walk through seldom visited region of New Mexico finishes the final leg into Pie Town.


cdt thru hike 2018 photo between pie town and grants - cdt journal

Pie Town to Grants – 108 Miles

May 12th – May 17th, Trail Days 22-27. Total Hike Miles – 465

The hike out of Pie Town is a very long road walk. Hikers have route options after reaching El Malpais… hike a roughly 55 mile semi-circle route around the lava fields or the Cibola alternate. I Chose the alternate, due to water shortages along the official El Malpais route, as most other hikers did this year. This allows one to hike the Narrows, a trail high up on a mesa overlooking El Malpais. I then hiked the northern section of El Malpais, exploring underground lava tubes and walked the rim of an old caldera volcano. This was the highlight of this section. It’s then a long road walk into Grants through Zuni Canyon.



cdt thru hike 2018 photo between grants and cuba - cdt journal

Grants to Cuba – 125 Miles

May 18th – May 23rd, Trail Days 28-33. Total Hike Miles – 589

This next section includes the highest point on the CDT in New Mexico, which is Mt Taylor at 11,300ft. Having a taste of the high mountains is a bit of a tease, as the trail then heads back down into lowlands and desert scrub. The middle section of this stretch is rather boring. However, the last 2 days into Cuba were incredible. I called it “New Mexico’s monument valley”. Hoodoos, badlands, mesas, spires and all sorts of interesting formations. I also saw my only real rainstorm in New Mexico during this leg.



cdt thru hike 2018 photo between cuba to ghost ranch - cdt journal

Cuba to Ghost Ranch – 61 Miles

May 24th – May 26th, Trail Days 34-36. Total Hike Miles – 650

Here hikers are given their first taste of high alpine meadows and parks in the San Pedro Parks Wilderness. No distant views, but nice scenery. The trail then descends back into the desert one last time. Approaching Ghost Ranch was some of the best desert scenery I experienced in all of New Mexico. Very colorful canyon walls line the Rio Chama, the first serious river along the CDT. Ghost Ranch itself boasts some stunningly beautiful scenery, marking the end of the desert along the CDT in New Mexico.


cdt thru hike 2018 photo between ghost ranch to chama - cdt journal

Ghost Ranch to Chama – 105 Miles

May 27th – June 3rd, Trail Days 37-44. Total Hike Miles – 755

Only a few miles out of Ghost Ranch, the last of New Mexico’s desert fades away. High mesa, rolling hills, meadows, forest and even lakes. Water is now abundant and no longer an issue. Every mile passed, New Mexico fades and Colorado grows closer. Elevation climbs to around 10k feet and stays there. The state border line, although underwhelming, is a big milestone. 25% complete with the CDT!


cdt thru hike 2018 photo between chama and pagosa springs - cdt journal

Chama to Pagosa Springs – 78 Miles

June 4th – June 8th, Trail Days 45-49. Total Hike  Miles – 833

This section has been the most difficult of the hike thusfar. More snow, highest elevation, most climbing, wettest, muddiest and all-around toughest hiking yet. But also, the most beautiful and impressive mountain scenery so far. Welcome to Colorado, snow and high mountains. Climb high, stay high! And that’s exactly what the trail does here. It follows the highest possible route without dropping down into valleys. That’s the spirit of the CDT, and this section is trial by fire.


cdt thru hike 2018 photo between pagosa springs and lake city - cdt journal

Pagosa Springs to Lake City – 126 Miles

June 9th – June 16th, Trail Days 50-56. Total Hike Miles – 959

Between Pagosa Springs and Lake City, the CDT passes through the San Juan mountains and the Weminuche wilderness, Colorado’s largest. It’s a tough section with rugged mountains, alpine lakes, lots of high trail and beautiful scenery. It’s much longer than the last section, but fortunately the trail was a bit drier and less snow which allowed for slightly easier travel. But still, very challenging!



cdt thru hike 2018 photo between lake city and salida - cdt journal

Lake City to Salida – 109 Miles

June 17th – June 23rd, Trail Days 58-63. Total Hike Miles – 1043

The first section of trail out of Spring Creek Pass was very scenic and similar to the last stretch south of the pass. After San Luis Peak, the trail drops down and the high mountain scenery fades away. Low valleys, dirt roads, forest. Lots of climbing and no views to show for it. After about 70 miles of this, the trail finally climbs high again and hikers are rewarded with distant views once again. This too comes at a cost… dodge the mountain bikers. After about 150 miles of the CDT sharing trail with the Colorado trail, I saw my first, and 100th, mountain bikers. Watch out for these guys, they’ll run you over!


cdt thru hike 2018 photo between salida and twin lakes - cdt journal

Salida to Twin Lakes – 82 Miles

June 24th – June 27th, Trail Days 65-68. Total Hike Miles – 1125

The hike from Salida to Twin Lakes was tough, but a good one. Lots of great views from numerous passes and high ridges. It was very hot and the mosquitoes have really been coming out lately. Lake Ann and the pass above it was the highlight of this section for me.



cdt thru hike 2018 photo between twin lakes and breckenridge - cdt journal

Twin Lakes to Breckenridge – 78 Miles

June 28th – July 2nd, Trail Days 69-73. Total Hike Miles – 1203

Highlights from the Twin Lakes to Breckenridge section of the Continental Divide Trail include Kokomo Pass, an abandoned WWII training facility, Mt Edwards and Mt Massive alternate routes, and a few scenic ridgelines overlooking the ski resorts of Copper Mountain and Breckenridge. North of Twin Lakes, the route isn’t blow-your-mind scenic, but it gradually improves and provides some excellent views.



cdt thru hike 2018 photo between breckenridge and i70 - cdt journal

Breckenridge to I70 (Frisco) – 54 Miles

July 3rd – July 5th, Trail Days 74-76. Total Hike Miles – 1257

Despite the large number of roads encountered on this stretch, and the lack of a real wilderness feel to it, this one was of the more scenic sections of the CDT in Colorado in my opinion. There were lots of 4×4 vehicles and ATVs out here though. The mountains had a lot of color to them in this section… not just green, but reds and oranges too. Colorful Colorado indeed! Grays Peak and Torreys Peak are also along this route, the highest point along the Continental Divide Trail.



cdt thru hike 2018 photo between i70 and grand lake - cdt journal

I70 (Frisco) to Grand Lake – 81 Miles

July 6th – July 10th, Trail Days 77-81. Total Hike Miles – 1338

North of I-70, the Sugarloaf Fire forced a reroute. This led me to bushwhack my own route around the closure before rejoining with the CDT. However, my return to the trail would be short lived. Thunderstorms kept me off the high ridges and forced a low route, taking me through the town of Winter Park. After rejoining the CDT yet again in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, I saw my first Moose on the CDT.



cdt thru hike 2018 photo between grand lake and steamboat springs - cdt journal

Grand Lake to Steamboat Springs – 95 Miles

July 12th – July 15th, Trail Days 83-86. Total Hike Miles – 1429

This section of the CDT passes through Rocky Mountain National Park and the Never Summer Wilderness as well as the Arapaho National Forest and Routt National Forest. This area is home to lots of Moose. Some pretty good views along the way, especially from Parkview Mountain. This is the last time the official CDT route reaches 12,000′ for a northbounder.


cdt thru hike 2018 photo between steamboat springs and encampment - cdt journal

Steamboat Springs to Encampment – 88 Miles

July 16th – July 19th, Trail Days 87-90. Total Hike Miles – 1520

Besides a walk through the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness, gone are the days of high mountains. This section sees a transition from from the Colorado landscape to a drier and lower elevation mountain environment in Wyoming as the trail passes through the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest. The Mt. Zirkel Wilderness is definitely the highlight of this section, which resembled the high Sierras at times.


cdt thru hike 2018 photo between encampment and rawlins - cdt journal

Encampment to Rawlins – 65 Miles

July 20th – July 23rd , Trail Days 91-93. Total Hike Miles – 1585

North of Encampment, the landscape abruptly changes from mountains to desert. The desert here begins as rolling hills, filled with pronghorn. It’s a long road walk into Rawlins. The views aren’t the finest, but the new landscape is interesting after so much time in the mountains. Few places to find shade and water is more scarce again.



cdt thru hike 2018 photo between rawlins and lander - cdt journal

Rawlins to Lander – 128 Miles

July 24th – July 28th, Trail Days 95-99. Total Hike Miles – 1713

In this section I’ve decided to push for my highest mileage day on the CDT, as well as an overall push to cover the next 126 mile in as little time possible. The desert is pretty flat here and elevation gain is not much of an issue. It’s a massively vast area to be walking through. Sage brush as far as the eye can see, and not much else except an occasional wild horse or pronghorn. Much of the beauty here is in the sky… wicked looking dark clouds and vivid sunsets are common. This is some wild country.


cdt thru hike 2018 photo along the wind river range high route - cdt journal

Lander to Dubois – 151 Miles

July 29th – August 9th, Trail Days 100-111. Total Hike Miles – 1864

The first 30 or so miles are a lead up from the lowlands of the great divide basin desert into the high country of the Wind River Range. The next 120 miles were the most challenging, beautiful and intense hiking I’ve ever done. I had more adventure in these 10 days then the rest of the entire CDT combined. Jagged peaks, frozen lakes, glaciers, crevasses, abundant wildflowers, miles of boulders and snowfields, mountain lions, big horn sheep, steep snow traverses, scrambling and climbing, milky glacial-fed rivers, and almost NOBODY to share it with. Additionally, the majority of this route is off-trail. In my opinion, the Wind River Range easily offers the best backpacking experience in the continental US.

cdt thru hike 2018 photo between dubois and jackson, gros ventre wilderness - cdt journal

Dubois to Jackson – 120 Miles

August 10th – August 15th, Trail Days 112-117. Total Hike Miles – 1984

Leaving Dubois, we had another 2.5 days of hiking to cross the northern Wind River Range. This proved to be much more difficult than anticipated, exceeding our time estimates. Road walked from Green River Lakes west to the Gros Ventre Wilderness. The Gros Ventre sees few hikers, and has few established trails as a result. Off trail adventures continued here on fields of snow and boulders, and involved some sketchy moments scrambling down steep rock faces. Once again we found ourselves low on food and hungry, only this time with a different outcome. This section was full of adventure and very scenic, among my favorites of the whole trip.

cdt thru hike 2018 photo between jackson to flagg ranch - cdt journal

Jackson to Flagg Ranch – 106 Miles

August 16th – August 20th, Trail Days 118-122. Total Hike Miles – 2090

After walking 2 miles into Jackson, resupplying and walking across the valley to Wilson in one day, we entered the Jedediah Smith Wilderness and Grand Teton National Park. We hiked our own version of the Teton Crest Trail winds in and out of both of these land administrations.  The Tetons are pretty damn grand to say the least! North of Lake Solitude, we took a steep cross country route out of the basin and over to the west side of the divide. Lots of wildflowers, delicious berries to eat, and bushwhacking!


cdt thru hike 2018 photo between flagg ranch and old faithful - cdt journal

Flagg Ranch to Old Faithful – 55 Miles

August 22nd – August 24th, Trail Days 124-126. Total Hike Miles – 2145

I left Flagg Ranch and entered Yellowstone through the south entrance. The only wildlife I saw was a fox, very disappointing for a place known for it’s animals. Much of our route through Yellowstone was wet, swampy and not particularly scenic. The highlight of this section was the Bechler River and the Mr. Bubbles area. Here, we were blown away by majestic waterfalls and soaked in a natural hot spring.


cdt thru hike 2018 photo between old faithful and macks inn - cdt journal

Old Faithful to Macks Inn – 43 Miles

August 25th – August 27th, Trail Days 127-129. Total Hike  Miles – 2188

Back on the official CDT, the trail leaves Old Faithful via a boardwalk through some really cool geothermal features. Mostly, colorful pools and hot springs. Not the kind you soak in though, the melt your skin off kind. After leaving the boardwalk and hitting trail, we left the hoards of tourists behind for good. The trail passes by a lake and some undeveloped geothermal features just before we cross into Idaho. From here to Macks Inn, the trail is rather unremarkable. I did, however, see a bear for the first time since the Gila here.

cdt thru hike 2018 photo between macks inn and lima - cdt journal

Macks Inn to Lima – 72 Miles

August 28th – August 30th, Trail Days 130-132. Total Hike Miles – 2260

After leaving Macks Inn, the route follows roads nearly to the summit of Sawtelle Peak. It snowed up here yesterday, so it’s wet and muddy. It’s a bushwhack down a quiet little valley to rejoin with the official CDT. After this, the trail is often high on a ridgeline. The views are good but not terribly photogenic. There’s a massive valley here to the south, which was carved by past eruptions of the hotspot/super volcano presently located under Yellowstone. From here, The Tetons can be seen 60+ miles away! Lots of bear activity in this area as well. Near Lima, the fence line that represents the Idaho/Montana border becomes a frequent sight.

cdt thru hike 2018 photo between lima and leadore - cdt journal

Lima to Leadore – 102 Miles

August 31st – September 3rd, Trail Days 133-136. Total Hike Miles – 2362

The hike from Lima to Leadore was probably my favorite section of the CDT in Montana/Idaho. This is how I envisioned more of the state would be. The trail is often up on a ridge with a fence separating Idaho from Montana, and there’s big views all around. The vast seas of golden colored rolling hills convey a subtle yet powerful message of beauty. Other times, seemingly endless mountain ranges dominate distant views across a massive valley. Walking on the divide in the dwindling alpenglow proved to be some of the most memorable moments for me.


cdt thru hike 2018 photo between leadore and darby, chief joseph pass - cdt journal

Leadore to Darby – 131 Miles

September 4th – September 9th, Trail Days 137-142. Total Hike Miles – 2493

After leaving Leadore, the CDT continued to offer some good ridgeline views, although not as frequent or quite as impressive as the Lima to Leadore section. However, it was forest fires dominated the theme of this stretch. Small and large plumes of forest fire smoke could be seen in many directions, and I was often quite close. I even walked over some active flames. Later, I found out the forest service closed the trail I was on again only hours after they gave me the go-ahead. I also encountered a momma bear and her two cubs. There was a lot of climbing in this section, with no day under 4200′.

cdt thru hike 2018 photo between darby, chief joseph pass, and anaconda - cdt journal

Darby to Anaconda – 102 Miles

September 10th – September 13th, Trail Days 143-146. Total Hike Miles – 2595

The first 30+ miles north of Chief Joseph Pass were some of my least favorite on the CDT. Partially my fault due to a crazy thick bushwhack, but mostly due to never-ending forests of dead trees and burned trees while doing lots of elevation gain. After the ugly section, the Anaconda Pintler wilderness starts and offers some redeeming views, mostly in the northern section. Bear activity was high, with lots of fresh scat. Temperatures are getting noticeably cooler now and days are getting shorter.

cdt thru hike 2018 photo between anaconda and lincoln - cdt journal

Anaconda to Lincoln – 147 Miles

September 14th – September 20th, Trail Days 147-153. Total Hike Miles – 2742

North of Anaconda, the CDT changes from paved roads to dirt roads and finally trail. This section was not one of the most scenic on the CDT, with mundane low hills and forest dominating the views. I found the best views to be between Dana Spring and Granite Butte. Lots of hunters out in the woods at this time of year. North of Dana Spring, I ran into Hopeful. This was a great surprise and we hiked hundreds more miles together, almost to Canada. Our last day before reaching Rogers Pass, we hiked through a cloud in near zero visibility.


cdt thru hike 2018 photo between lincoln and east glacier - cdt journal

Lincoln to East Glacier – 168 Miles

September 21st – September 28th, Trail Days 154-161. Total Hike Miles – 2910

I entered the Scapegoat Wilderness just north of Rogers Pass, where I did the most climbing I’d done in a single day on the entire CDT. However, these were the best views I’d seen in a long time. Lots of ridges with distant views. Then the trail drops down into a valley, where it’d mostly stay for the remainder of the hike to East Glacier. I picked up a package of food I had my dad send to Benchmark Ranch along the way before starting the Bob Marshall Wilderness section. Forest fires and high elevation snow forced a lower route through the Bob, so we missed the Chinese Wall and more. Winter is coming soon.

cdt thru hike 2018 photo between east glacier and canada - cdt journal

East Glacier to Canada – 64 Miles

September 29th – October 2nd, Trail Days 162-165. Total Hike Miles – 2974

With a fair amount of snow already on the ground and much more foretasted, Katie Hopeful and I set off into Glacier National Park. I was reluctant due to the weather, but Katie and Hopeful seemed optimistic. Stopped in the Two Medicine ranger station only minutes before they closed for the season. On the morning of our second day, Katie and I decided to turn back to to the weather conditions, with the idea of road walking to Canada from here. Hopeful continued to hike, alone. Katie and I regrouped in East Glacier and I ultimately set off alone the next day. A 37 mile road walk and another 11 miles in a blizzard, and I reached Port of Piegan at the Canadian border. At last, my journey on the CDT is complete!

Best Continental Divide Trail Thru Hike Video


← See the CDT in 5 Minutes


watch the 31 episode Continental Divide Trail thru hike video series

Watch my 31 episode Continental Divide Trail

thru hike video series on YouTube →



CDT Thru Hike Gear List

Here’s a detailed video breaking down every single item in my backpack, no matter how small. Click the link below the video to show a written gear list of every item in my pack, with weights listed and links to buy each item.

Click to view CDT gear list


Continental Divide Trail Route & Maps

The map above is a caltopo map of my completed Continental Divide Trail thru hike. It’s BIG and takes a LONG time to load, so keep waiting!! I hiked continuous footsteps from Mexico to Canada had my GPS on the whole way recording the track. That’s a lot of batteries! The route from South Pass City to Old Faithful is a 450 mile alternate route I created, so this section is NOT the official CDT nor is it a Ley alternate. You can download my entire Continental Divide Trail GPS file, or just the “Famous Alternate”, here:

Continental Divide Trail Elevation Profile

I haven’t seen elevation gain discussed much the Continental Divide Trail planning guide resources I’ve read online. Not everybody takes a GPS, and almost nobody records keeps their GPS on the entire trail like I did, the only way to record a complete track and produce elevation profile like you see below.

elevation profile of the continental divide trail

Elevation profile for my Continental Divide Trail thru hike

Continental Divide Trail Town Stop & Resupply Strategy Spreadsheet

This is the excel spreadsheet I used to plan out my resupply stops. I kept this on my phone and used it as my master reference along the hike. You can customize it to your needs, this is simply a template for you to follow.


CDT thru hike resupply town stop spreadsheet

CDT thru hike Town Stop/Resupply Strategy Spreadsheet


CDT Thru Hike Resupply Strategy: Using A Bounce Box

A bounce box is a box that you send from one town to the next along the trail. Since I filmed my thru hike, I needed a way to dump media and clear my memory cards. In this box I had a portable hard drive, small tablet/laptop, and a bunch of other things that are useful for the long distance hiker… gear repair items, extra sunscreen, toothpaste, opsaks (you really should be using these), and much more. I sent this box to Silver City (as a NOBO), and then every 2nd or third town from there. It’s expensive to do, but it’s a solid option if you ahve the need to dump media like I did.

Thru hikers may also bounce a box as a one time (or multiple times) thing… for example, you’re hiking NOBO and you’ve sent yourself an ice axe and micro spikes to Chama. You get to Chama and realize you don’t need them, but you expect to use them north of Pagosa Spring. You “bounce” your box up to Chama. It works like this… your box is waiting for you at the PO is Chama… walk in and tell them that you have sent a box to general delivery, but you want to send it ahead to another town now. Don’t accept the package and don’t open it, if you do, you will have to pay to send it again. Tell them you want to send the box ahead to the PO at Pagosa, and it will be FREE to do this, because you haven’t accepted and opened the package. You can do this as many times as you need to. Sometimes it can be done over the phone but don’t count on it, you are usually required to be in person and show ID.

I did a video on what’s in my bounce box and more of the details on this strategy:



Continental Divide Trail Daily Stats Spreadsheet

This excel spreadsheet gives you a quick overview of each day of my CDT thru hike. The spreadsheet shows the day number on trail, date, section hiked, day type (full/half/zero), miles, elevation gain, precip yes/no, where I slept, and animals seen.

Post CDT thru hike stats

Statistics From My Continental Divide Trail Thru Hike

cdt thru hike border pictures, aka summit photo

The southern and northern terminus’ of my CDT thru hike

Mexico to Canada

• 2,998 Miles
• 165 Days, April 21st – October 2nd
• Zero Days(no hiking): 26 days
• Avg Daily Mileage(including zeros): 18.1
• Avg Daily Mileage(excluding zeros): 20.8
• Avg Daily Mileage(full days only ): 23.9
• Avg Moving MPH: 3.1
• Highest Point: 13,862ft at Mt. Edwards, CO
• Lowest Point: 4,301ft at US/MEX Border
• Total Elevation Gain: 470,284ft
• Avg Daily Elevation Gain (full days only): 3,795ft
• Percentage of Days I Hiked Alone (Est): 75%
• Most Miles In One Day: 40
• Most Elevation Gain In One Day: 7,576ft
• Longest Hike Between Resupply: 151 miles, 10 Days – Lander to Dubois
• Fastest Section Hiked: 128 Miles in 3.5 Days (36.5 miles per day), Rawlins to Lander


New Mexico

Miles: 750
Days: 41
Zero Days: 6
Avg Daily Mileage(including zeros): 18.3
Avg Daily Mileage(excluding zeros): 21.4
Avg Daily Mileage(full days only ): 23.7
Days With Rain/Snow: 2


Miles: 764
Days: 48
Zero Days: 11
Avg Daily Mileage(including zeros): 15.9
Avg Daily Mileage(excluding zeros): 20.6
Avg Daily Mileage(full days only ): 24.2
Days With Rain/Snow: 7


Miles: 663
Days: 38
Zero Days: 5
Avg Daily Mileage(including zeros): 17.4
Avg Daily Mileage(excluding zeros): 20.1
Avg Daily Mileage(full days only ): 21.3
Days With Rain/Snow: 7


Miles: 821
Days: 38
Zero Days: 4
Avg Daily Mileage(including zeros): 21.6
Avg Daily Mileage(excluding zeros): 24.1
Avg Daily Mileage(full days only ): 26.9
Days With Rain/Snow: 12


• Days With Any Miles Hiked: 140
• Days Hiked 40+ Miles: 1
• Days Hiked 35-40 MIles: 2
• Days Hiked 30-35 Miles: 8
• Days Hiked 25-30 Miles: 34
• Days Hiked 20-25 Miles: 47
• Days Hiked 15-20 Miles: 22
• Days Hiked 10-15 Miles: 19
• Days Hiked 5-10 Miles: 5
• Days Hiked >5 Miles: 1

Elevation Gain

• Days With 7000ft+ Elevation Gain: 1
• Days With 6000ft+ Elevation Gain: 5
• Days With 5000ft+ Elevation Gain: 25
• Days With 4000ft+ Elevation Gain: 50
• Days With 3000ft+ Elevation Gain: 81
• Days With 2000ft+ Elevation Gain: 112


• Backcountry Nights Tent Camped: 83
• Backcountry Nights Cowboy Camped: 21
• Nights In A Motel: 35
• Nights In A Hostel: 11
• Nights In A RV Park/Campground: 11
• Nights At A Trail Angel’s Home: 2
• Nights In A Cabin: 1
• Nights In A Yurt: 1
• Total Nights In A Tent: 95
• Total Backcountry Nights: 106
• Total Front country Nights: 59


• Number Of Towns With A Bounce Box Sent: 12
• Number Of Towns/Resupply Points, Walk In: 16
• Number Of Towns/Resupply Points, Hitch In: 15


• Pairs Of Shoes: 4
• Pairs Of Socks: 10
• Gear Lost: 1 Hat, 1 Water Bottle

cdt hikers pose along the trail in yellowstone on their 2018 thru hike

Animals Seen:

• Deer: 100s
• Rabbit: 100+
• Elk: 100+
• Marmot: 75+
• Pronghorn: 50+
• Wild Horses: 30+
• Big Horn Sheep: 20+
• Prairie Dog: 20+
• Moose: 10+
• Mountain Goat: 10+
• Porcupine: 7
• Black Bear: 6
• Mountain Lion: 2
• Fox: 2
• Bald Eagle: 2
• Coyote: 1
• LLama: 1
• Big Foot: 0

CDT Town Stop Populations (2018)

New Mexico

Lordsburg: 2464
Silver City: 9647
Doc Campbell’s(Mimbres): 667
Pie Town: 186
Grants: 9011
Cuba: 748
Ghost Ranch(Abiquiu): 231
Chama: 998

NM Towns Total Population: 23952
NM Avg Town Population: 2994


Pagosa Springs: 1940
Lake City: 379
Salida: 5856
Twin Lakes: 6101
Breckenridge: 4928
Frisco: 3129
Grand Lake: 498
Steamboat Springs: 12965

CO Towns Total Population: 35796
CO Avg Town Population: 4474


Riverside(Encampment): 53
Rawlins: 8858
Lander: 7551
Dubois: 974
Jackson: 10532
Flagg Ranch(Moran): 501
Old Faithful: ?

WY Towns Population: 28469
WY Avg Town Population: 4067


Macks Inn: 272
Lima: 228
Leadore: 103
Darby: 779
Anaconda: 9106
Lincoln: 1103
Benchmark (Fairfield): 730
East Glacier: 396

ID/MT Towns Total Population: 12717
ID/MT Avg Town Population: 1589

Total Population Of All Resupply Points: 100,267   Total Number of Resupply Points: 31    Average Resupply Point Population: 3234

8 Responses

  1. Ron

    Great job with the daily journal entries, that’s a lot to maintain on trail. I loved all the CDT statistics too.

    December 28, 2018 at 2:46 pm

  2. karen w.

    This is awesome, thank you!

    January 5, 2019 at 11:00 pm

  3. Hey, any idea how much you spent on the trail?

    January 12, 2019 at 11:27 am

    • SeekingLost

      I spent enough where I didn’t want to keep track of it! I’m sure I spent towards the high end of what a hiker would/could spend on trail. Not including gear bought before the trip… $10-12k probably

      January 12, 2019 at 2:07 pm

  4. Justin

    Hey, I really enjoyed all of your content on the CDT. I’m new to thru hikes, and I don’t really know how to plan for hiking long distances like I would have to do on the CDT.

    What’s your strategy for getting enough miles done in a day without burning yourself out? Do you try and meet a minimum amount of miles by certain parts of the day, or do you just attempt to meet a certain pace throughout the day and take breaks as needed? My hiking experiences have consisted of heavier loads over shorter distances with dedicated breaks once I hit a certain milage, so my main concern is learning to pace myself throughout the whole day with a lighter load.

    How did you factor your food and caloric needs with you pacing? I definitely don’t care for cooking meals on the trail, but me being a bigger guy, I’m not sure how I’m going to factor extra calories for more weight, or vice versa.

    Also, what did you do to prepare physically for the CDT? I think I remember you mentioning something about your workout plan in a video, but I forgot where it was.

    Lastly, I’m at least two and a half years from getting my first shot at hiking the CDT. So in hindsight, what are things you would definitely do the same, what are things you definitely would change, and what are things you would do differently just for the sake of trying different things in terms of gear, planning, food, or anything at all.


    January 6, 2020 at 10:05 pm

    • SeekingLost

      Hey Justin, the planning is pretty daunting, isn’t it? Great questions. I’ve never been too strict on pace. I know hikers who “must” have a certain number of miles in by 10am. I find things like this to be an unnecessary burden on yourself. The terrain could be 3x as tough one morning, and you’re going to get all worked up over not hitting an arbitrary goal? As long as things average out in the end that’s all that matters. I’ve always been a bit more “go with the flow” when it comes to pace. But you are right in that you begin to notice little patterns, like I should have x miles but this time. You will get to know your own pace extremely well, and within a few weeks you will naturally settle into a routine that works for you. I highly recommend taking it easy the first week at least and easing into it.

      With food, I used to try and hit certain calorie numbers per day, but over time just found it annoying to be counting calories at the grocery store when resupplying. I shop by eyeball now, just fill food bags with food haha. Some may laugh at this approach, especially considering how meticulous I can be planning most everything else. But it works. I usually hit town with a few extra food items, but nothing too heavy. This is exactly how I would prefer it. If anything happens, you have a little extra food. I packed too little food on the Doc Campbell’s to Pie Town section, and was down 17 pounds at that point. But then I stabilized and stayed roughly the same weight all trail. I think your body does what it needs to do to adjust to the amount of food you give it over time, within reason. Obviously you’re not gonna get by on 1500 calories a day, but if you needed 4000/day when you started and shed weight, you will probably do ok with 3000 over time after an adjustment period. And just make sure to eat everything in sight when you get to town! Load up on the densest calorie food you can find and enjoy eating on trail to try and get your extra calories. Nuts, olive oil, even potato chips are pretty calorie dense (160/oz for lays sat n vinegar).

      Training was kinda hard for me because I live in Michigan, so I had to start hiking around outside in the snow in February. Fortunately it was a light winter that year. There was a river across the street from my house at the time, and I would put on a 40 pound pack and do a 1 hour/3.2 mile loop around it, or go around twice. Sometimes I would go in the morning before work and after work too. Whenever I could, really. If it was too muddy along the river, I just walked around my neighborhood. I was doing maybe 30 miles a week, after a few weeks. It’s not a lot, but it’s VERY helpful for these reasons: you will build calluses and avoid an onslaught of blisters in the beginning, and you are getting your legs, knees, ankles, feet used to moving. Strengthening them enough so that you (hopefully) don’t get shin splints, ankle sprains and everything else the the hiker who doesn’t train is more susceptible to. You are making your first section MUCH easier on yourself. When I couldn’t get outside to walk, I’d do stair climbs on my basement stairs. 45 minutes up and down the stairs with a 45 pound pack is a great workout. There is nowhere with elevation gain to hike in southern Michigan, so this simulates the climbing aspect of a hike. Personally, I feel this is secondary to simply walking with a weighted pack. That’s the number one thing you can do to prepare yourself, regardless of terrain or distance. Oh, and about 2 weeks before the hike I started throwing in a couple of 4 hour hikes.

      Would do the same: Hike NOBO (ending at the southern border would be a underwhelming way to finish IMO), middle fork Gila river alternate (YES!!!), my Wind River Range to Old Faithful alternate for sure, use for free shipping over $35 to send food to motels you’re going to a town or two up (this worked really well to get staple items that aren’t available in a local gas station or general store), Mt Taylor alt.

      Would do differently: I would take the Bonita-Zuni canyon alternate as shown on Guthook on the north side of El Malpiais instead of my little alternate to the privately owned and closed for the night Ice Caves, I would not bring a pair of cotton boxers to sleep in again but instead to just bring a second pair of the Patagonia Daily Wear boxers I was wearing throughout the day, I wouldn’t use the same Osprey Exos 58 pack, I would send a food box to Lima and Leadore (gas station/general store food only here), I would get to East Glacier sooner (Sept 20th or earlier would be ideal), I wouldn’t take the Anaconda Cutoff again unless I was pressed for time. I also wouldn’t take the Mack’s Inn cutoff again unless pressed for time, the main CDT route is longer but supposed to be much more scenic. I would not use a gravity water filtration system again, would do a squeeze system.

      Hope this helps a little anyways. Let me know if you have any other questions that I can help you with!

      January 12, 2020 at 8:15 pm

      • Justin

        Thanks for such a detailed response! I’ve begun making a rough plan of the route I want to take, and I’ve been using Guthook to get an idea of what each town has.

        The biggest concern I have is getting into town and doing resupplies as I don’t have any experience doing this. I’d obviously like to make the stops as easy as possible on the logistics side so I can relax and enjoy what the towns have to offer. That being said, were you able to ship your bounce box to motels where you planned to stay? Were any of the lodging places unfriendly about accepting hiker mail? I recall you saying you had trouble with one motel accepting your box. I’m already starting to realize that some post offices in town are quite some distance from resupply and rest points, and I want to see if I’m able to mitigate some walking in town and make logistics easier.

        I was also wondering about food storage on trail. I’m interested in using the Opsaks, but I’m wondering if they’re big enough to meet the two pounds of food per day rule. Was one bag big enough for all the food you needed for the longer sections or did you need an extra?

        Thanks for the help!

        February 23, 2020 at 7:56 pm

        • SeekingLost

          Your strategy to avoid the post office whenever possible is a good one. Also remember that you might arrive in town after the PO has closed, on a weekend, etc. Some small town POs ahve short/erratic hours as it is. Best to send packages to motels, rv parks, general stores etc when possible. I sent packages to several motels and stores (probably over 10 of them). Yes I had issues with the Sand Motel in Grants, do not recommend them, but everywhere else along the normal CDT route should be used to CDT hikers coming through and have no issue with you mailing them a package, just call to confirm and helps to call right before/after sending the package. The only issue you might run into is this… they might want you to make a reservation before sending the package. Again, along the regular CDT route, they get it. But just remember that if you are doing anything outside of the norm, say a big fire reroute or your own alternate route, those places might not be used to dealing with hikers and might want a reservation up front.

          Definitely get two opsaks. I got about 4 days of food in one 12×20 bag. The second bag becomes your backup in case you break the seal on your other bag… this happens every couple of weeks, for me. I’ve heard of others who got a whole thru hike out of them, but that’s just insane!

          February 23, 2020 at 11:12 pm

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