Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
3,116.00 ft (949.76 m)
Trail type
16.30 mi (26.23 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, exploring 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 Colorado portion of the CDT features 800 miles of stunning and challenging high altitude hiking. Highlights include the South San Juans, Collegiate Peaks, 14,270 foot Grays Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, and the Mount Zirkel Wilderness. In this guide we’ll take a closer look at Colorado Section 10.

Colorado Section 10 begins at Stony Pass Trailhead. Follow the gravel road downhill for a short distance before veering off to the left on the trail. You’ll then climb slightly with a large meadow to your right (sheep are sometimes found grazing here). Continue up the valley until you cross the headwaters of the Rio Grande River. It’s amazing that this small stream will eventually turn into a mighty river as it flows 1,900 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. 

You’ll then have a climb up to a high point that provides great views down to the Rio Grande Valley that you just came from. The trail stays up high for the rest of Section 10, offering continuous stunning views and many climbs and descents, including one to a high point of 12,996 feet.

One of the most gorgeous areas of this section is near Cataract Lake. The trail passes by a small lake, a great spot to camp. You’ll then have a big climb waiting, but it is rewarded with more stunning views. You’ll then descend through a valley and alongside Lost Trail Creek. Keep your eyes open for moose here.

At the bottom of the descent you’ll turn left on a 4x4 road. Follow this road uphill to the “parking area” at Carson Saddle. This marks the end of Colorado Section 10.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Stunning views. Rio Grande Headwaters.


Some tough climbs.

Trailhead Elevation

12,520.00 ft (3,816.10 m)

Highest point

12,983.00 ft (3,957.22 m)


Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Adventures


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