Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
2,370.00 ft (722.38 m)
Trail type
25.40 mi (40.88 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 2 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.

Part 2 of the Anaconda Route begins from the center of downtown and leads hikers back to the official CDT. You’ll follow Highway 1 eastward out of town, along the way passing by many restaurants and a nearby grocery store. Continue following the divided highway until taking a left on Road 48.

This road has less traffic than the main highway, but has practically no shoulder. The walking is anything but enjoyable. Just put your head down and get through it without getting run over.

As you reach Interstate 90 you’ll turn left on the road paralleling it. At the next junction turn right and cross under the Interstate. You’ve now finished the worst of the Anaconda Route.

Turn left onto the gravel Morel Road. Follow this road northward until turning right onto Sand Hollow (Dry Cottonwood) Road. Continue eastward on this road as it takes you away from the awful paved road walks of Anaconda and back into the mountains.

You’ll climb steady on the pleasant gravel Forest Road (8634) until you ultimately rejoin the official CDT route at the junction with FR 674. Turn left onto the trail and continue north.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Second half follows enjoyable forest road that climbs back into the mountains.


Some genuinely awful paved road walking with fast traffic and no shoulder.

Trailhead Elevation

5,281.00 ft (1,609.65 m)

Highest point

6,808.00 ft (2,075.08 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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