Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,196.00 ft (364.54 m)
Trail type
Shuttle
Distance
12.90 mi (20.76 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 13.

Colorado Section 13 begins at San Luis Pass. Note that the nearest trailhead to here is the West Willow Trailhead, a little over a mile to the south. From the pass the CDT makes a sizable ascent followed by a descent. After this initial climb the CDT then begins to contour around the mountains in a more pleasant manner.

You’ll start to have views of San Luis Peak (14,022 ft) as you carry on. Continue hiking as San Luis grows bigger and bigger, until eventually you come to a saddle at 12,640 ft. This is as close as the trail gets to San Luis. If you choose to bag the summit (a worthy endeavor), follow the trail to your left as it ascends the south ridge for 1,400 feet in 1.3 miles to the summit. Although rocky, the trail is easy to follow and not exceedingly difficult. The views from the summit of San Luis Peak are spectacular and well worth the extra effort. When finished, return the same 1.3 miles back to the CDT.

Otherwise, continue straight on the CDT as it begins to descend into the Cochetopa Creek Valley. The trail continues descending through the valley for about 9 miles, a welcome change from the consistent ups and downs of earlier.

The trail through this stretch can be a bit rocky, as well as brushy and overgrown in areas. There are trees here, but minimal shade as most of the trees are dead. Continue following the trail as it parallels near Cochetopa Creek all the way down to Eddiesville Trailhead and the end of Section 13.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Great mountain views. Option to climb a 14er.

Trailhead Elevation

11,959.00 ft (3,645.10 m)

Highest point

12,618.00 ft (3,845.97 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Wildlife
Big vistas

Typically multi-day

Yes

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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