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Where's the Trail in Montana and Idaho?

The Continental Divide Trail is approximately 800 miles in length in Montana and Idaho. The Forest Service, in consultation with the Society and other interested parties, completed its route selection process and dedicated the initial segment of the CDT in 1989. Since that time, several new segments have been constructed, and the few remaining portions are under contract or study.

The segments of the route, as described in Guide to the Continental Divide Trail, are:

  • Glacier National Park. Spectacular mountain scenery. Excellent trail system in place. Camping permits required.

  • Bob Marshall Wilderness.  A fine wilderness experience, featuring the great limestone cliffs of the Chinese Wall. Excellent trail system in place. Some grizzlies.

  • Scapegoat Wilderness. Includes both ridgetop and valley experiences. Lewis and Clark Pass was on return route of Captain Lewis in 1806. With recent trail construction, route is in very good condition.

  • Helena Segment. Less rugged country, mostly forested. The route is generally quite good, though with roaded portions, south to the Butte area.

  • Butte Segment. The current route, circling to the south of Butte, is largely on roads and ATV trails; but new nonmotorized paths are to be constructed in the next few years.

  • Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness .  The extremities of this Segment are roaded, but the midsection uses fine pack trails that criss-cross the Continental Divide, passing delightful mountain-rimmed lakes on the way.

  • Big Hole Segment. An outstanding portion of the route, along the Montana-Idaho boundary, with mountains of grandeur as well as several lakes.

  • Dillon Segment.  The Trail here has a different character -- predominantly grassland instead of forest. The route is often on the crest of the Continental Divide, with fine vistas as well as plentiful wildlife. The Trail, though marked with posts, is not always easy to follow.

  • Centennial Mountains.  Recent trail construction has improved this portion, though some stretches along road remain. The official route  circles around the north end of Henrys Lake, but our recommendation is to descend to Macks Inn, Idaho.

Click here to view a map of the Trail in Montana and Idaho.

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Copyright 2002 Continental Divide Trail Society
Last modified: 05/10/12