Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
2,188.00 ft (666.90 m)
Trail type
Shuttle
Distance
17.70 mi (28.49 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, 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 11.

Colorado Section 11 begins at Carson Saddle. From here you’ll follow the dirt 4x4 road as it climbs steadily up toward Coney Point. The CDT veers off the road onto single track at one point to avoid a steep section. The climb eventually mellows out as you work away from the road and ultimately reach the highest point on the Colorado Trail at an elevation of 13,271 feet. Note that this is not the highest point of the CDT, that distinction belongs to 14,270 foot Grays Peak.

Carrying onward the terrain stays high and exposed with a few more mellow climbs and descents. You’ll have great views toward Lake City and Lake San Cristobal, as well as aptly named Red Mountain. The trail continues to stay high and exposed until descending down to a meadow area. Trees are a welcome sight here and provide shelter from any afternoon storms. There is also a good water source here and a yurt located just off trail.

After leaving the meadow area you’ll eventually work your way up to Jarosa Mesa. The mesa is a bit rocky and not the most enjoyable hiking. You’ll then follow a dirt road down to the trailhead at Spring Creek Pass. This marks the end of section 11. Lake City is to the north and can be accessed from here.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Stunning views. Hiking above 13,000ft.

Cons

Very exposed to weather.

Trailhead Elevation

12,343.00 ft (3,762.15 m)

Highest point

13,271.00 ft (4,045.00 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Wildlife
Big vistas

Typically multi-day

Yes

Permit required

No

Location

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