Great walking vacations: Continental Divide Trail


The Continental Divide Trail (CDT) spans 3,100 miles that traverse the breathtaking Rocky Mountains from Montano to New Mexico. Only about 200 people thru-hike the trail a year, and even fewer go on to complete the entire United States Triple Crown of Hiking – the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide trails. But no matter how long you plan to spend on the CDT, we have your data-driven guide to this incredible walking vacation.

Lakes, Kalispell

Take a dip in Glacier National Park

Take a dip in Glacier National Park

Fly into Kalispell, Montana to hike through Glacier National Park in the northernmost section of the CDT. Between the walls of mountains are crisp lakes like Saint Mary or Swiftcurrent. Lake McDonald is the largest body of water in the park. Formed by glaciers, this calm, sparkling lake is in perfect view of snow-peaked mountains and will be a breaktaking stop on your walking trip.In the nearby town of Kalispell, you can stay overnight at Kalispell Grand Hotel. This historic hotel has been in operation since 1912 and offers spa treatments that are ideal after a long day in the national park.

Nature, Idaho Falls

Observe nature in Yellowstone

Observe nature in Yellowstone

Yellowstone is the highlight of the Idaho portion of the CDT. Keep your homebase in Idaho Falls and spend your time hiking through the Caribou-Targhee National Forest in Yellowstone. More than just forest, this part of the park has flourishing flower fields, grazing animals, and quiet lakes for you to enjoy as you explore the trails. In Idaho Falls, rest up at Candlewood Suites located on the Snake River, where you can fish, hike, or golf nearby if you want even more outdoor activities for your trip.

Mountains, Jackson

Climb through Grand Teton National Park

Climb through Grand Teton National Park

Jackson, Wyoming is the next stop on your way along the CDT. Still in the expanse of Yellowstone, you can visit Grand Teton National Park for 200 miles of trails, long lazy rivers, and—most striking of all—the Teton Mountain Range. Famous for its sharp elevation and few foothills, the Teton Mountains are a popular spot for climbers and hikers alike. The White Buffalo Club is the ideal place for an overnight, with both the airport and Grand Teton National Park only about ten minutes away.

Downhill Skiing, Aspen

Hit the slopes in Aspen

Hit the slopes in Aspen

The next stop is Aspen, Colorado. This idyllic winter wonderland is a world-renown ski destination for people of all ages and skill levels. Even If you come in the summer, you can still enjoy rafting, biking, rock-climbing, fishing, horseback riding, and—of course—hiking the mountains and gorgeous nature of the four ski mountains that make up Aspen. Stay at a lodge like Mountain Chalet Aspen anytime of the year. Enjoy the year-round outdoor pool and on-site bar, plus ski lifts only five minutes away.

Warm Weather, El Paso

Soak up the sun on the Rio Grande

Soak up the sun on the Rio Grande

Venture from the cold of Aspen to the heat of El Paso, Texas. The southern terminus is in the remote town of Hachita, New Mexico, but you could also end your trip with a more central location in El Paso. Trails around places like the Aztec Caves, Franklin Mountains, or the Rio Grande are great sunny landscapes for you to explore. Then enjoy the thrills, sights, and tastes of this compact city before spending the evening at the Hotel Indigo El Paso Downtown where you can take in the skyline from the comfort of your balcony.

We picked these articles for you

The Best of the Western USA's Natural Beauty

The otherworldly hoodoos of Bryce Canyon to a hike along the deepest lake in the country.

LA's Best Pet-friendly Cafés and Restaurants

Take your pet out for all the treats in the City of Angels.

Pizza Around the USA

A list of regional pizza variations across the US.

America’s Best Street Food Cities

When you’re on both a budget and the go, these cities still feed you like a king.

Your Trip Down Route 66

Where to stop and what to see on this iconic American road trip.

The Quirky Culture of Portland, Oregon

An eccentric city full of artists, subcultures, craft beer, and gourmet coffee.