Thru-hiking the CDT is incredibly fun, exciting, and awe-inspiring, but it definitely has some specific challenges. I certainly have. The other quarter shares all types of roads with motorized vehicles. A tire used as a watering hole for cattle in New Mexico. Many people find that their bodies quickly adapt to conditions on the trail once they get started hiking since the difficulty builds gradually (for NOBOs). is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. Whether you’re springing to action in an emergency situation or just need an easy way to open packaging, you’ll feel confident knowing you’re equipped with a reliable blade whenever you need it. Every year, the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, Continental Divide Trail Society, and US Forest Service work hard to maintain and protect the trail for recreation. Be ready for anything even if the forecast calls for good weather. Check out some of our favorite items in our guide to the Best Backpacking Gear for Women. You’ll also want a quality sleeping bag or quilt (most people go with 15 or 20 degree), a warm down jacket, and solid rain gear. The CDNST has gained popularity in recent years due to the availability of GPS tracks and maps, and is an appealing choice for purists or those who prefer a more straightforward route. Generally, sources are far apart and unreliable in the desert. You only need a permit if you plan to camp in this area, and you can get it here. Act Blue - Bail Funds We love backpacking, international travel, useful gear, and all things nature. For an in-depth look at what the principles mean for backpackers, check out our Leave No Trace video. It can be a little overwhelming to find the perfect pair of hiking pants. Nobody likes waking up with numb hips. The CDT Planning Guide does an excellent job of explaining the most popular flip-flop methods. NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Sitting in the shade of a large boulder to be the mid-afternoon Heat in Southern New mexico. Grizzly bear country roughly spans from Wyoming to Canada. In the four years since I first set foot on Springer Mountain , I've also thru-hiked the 2650-mile Pacific Crest Trail , as well as the much shorter Long Trail and Benton MacKaye Trail , all together totaling 5,400 miles. We’re really grateful for our positive experiences with hitchhiking, but we definitely recommend being cautious. A solid daypack should be a staple of every outdoor enthusiast's gear collection. The Pacific Northwest is an adventure junkie’s paradise. If you do scare up a snake, stay calm and back away slowly. The most important things you can do to protect yourself (and ultimately, the bears) is to carry bear spray and have the ability to hang your food. Here are some common things you’re likely to experience while hiking the CDT: A dirt road leads through a vast basin of sagebrush in Wyoming. Solitude - Compared to the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail, a relatively small number of people attempt to thru-hike the CDT each year. Budgeting - We can’t emphasize enough how important budgeting is and how potentially difficult it can be; many people have to end their hikes early due to running out of money. It’s not recommended as a first thru-hike unless you have considerable backpacking experience. ), Bear Creek Survey GPS Waypoints and Data (a GPS with waypoints is very helpful in the snow and is more reliable than a phone with an app), NM is a good warm up for harder terrain up north. The resources we recommend below tell you all you need to know about the popular alternate routes. We put together this list to showcase some solid budget tents that strike a good balance between cost, weight, weather protection, and durability. Pros: Can be more social/less solitary, overall temps are generally warmer, NM is a good warm up for harder terrain up north, hiking CO in wildflower season, ending in Glacier NP feels more epic, Cons: Heat in Southern NM, summer thunderstorms in CO (June/July), need to reach Glacier NP before snow begins in fall, can be less solitary/more social, Pros: There’s less rush to finish, aspens turning gold in CO, avoid thunderstorms in CO, more solitary/less social, hiking MT in wildflower season, cooler temps in NMCons: Decreasing daylight every day, trail is difficult right out of the gate (no warm up), cold nighttime temps in CO and NM, need to be through NM before snow begins in fall, can be less social/more solitary, the southern terminus isn’t as epic as the northern one (still exciting though). NOBO hikers will generally want to reach the Canadian border by late September before snow starts to blanket the Northern Rockies. 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