Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
994.00 ft (302.97 m)
Trail type
26.40 mi (42.49 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail spans nearly 3,100 miles across 5 states from Mexico to Canada, traversing a vast array of different environments and landscapes along the way. The CDT can be completed as a single thru-hike that will take 4 to 6 months, or by section-hiking smaller segments. The Montana-Idaho portion of the CDT features nearly 1,000 miles of diverse mountain terrain. You’ll pass alongside the lofty peaks of the Anaconda, Bitterroot and Beaverhead Mountains; walk through the rugged and remote Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex; and finally arrive at the “Crown of the Continent” that is Glacier National Park. In this guide we’ll take a closer look at Part 1 of the Anaconda Route.

The Anaconda Route is popular with thru hikers as it saves a significant amount of mileage by taking a more direct line through the town of Anaconda, rather than circling around Butte like the official CDT route does. Additionally, Anaconda is a cool, hiker-friendly town. There are downsides however, namely the large amount of road walking along busy streets with minimal shoulder in areas.

To begin the Anaconda Route northbound hikers will leave the official CDT at Goat Flat and head over Storm Lake Pass, then descend to Storm Lake, leaving the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness behind. The trail makes a circles around the lake before climbing slightly up to Twin Lakes Pass.

There are still some great mountain views as you descend to Twin Lakes. The trail eventually turns into a forest road which you’ll continue to follow down to Highway 1.

From here the Anaconda Route turns from enjoyable, to something you just need to get through. You’ll follow Highway 1 all the way into town. The highway of course has lots of traffic, so please use caution. Thankfully there are a few side streets that parallel that Highway where you can get off the busy road for a while. The most significant of these is Stumptown Road, which is a pleasant walk. You’ll follow Stumptown Road all the way to Evergreen Street, which leads back to Highway 1.

As you enter town you’ll find a grocery store, and several restaurants. The route will take you through the heart of Anaconda where there are even more places to eat or stay, including the hiker friendly Pintler’s Portal Hostel. In Washoe Park (a short walk from downtown) there is the “Hiker Hut.” This small building is specifically for CDT thru-hikers and can be used as a place to rest during the day and charge electronics, or even stay for the night if not wanting to spend money to sleep at the hostel in town.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Scenic mountain views from Storm Lake Pass and Twin Lakes Pass.


Road walking along busy Highway 1.

Trailhead Elevation

9,177.00 ft (2,797.15 m)

Highest point

9,313.00 ft (2,838.60 m)


Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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