Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
4,751.00 ft (1,448.10 m)
Trail type
21.00 mi (33.80 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 16.

Colorado Section 16 begins with a short road walk on the shoulder of Highway 114. Be cautious here and watch for traffic. You’ll then turn left off the highway onto Forest Road 785 (CO RD 31CC). This nice gravel road follows Lujan Creek upstream.

Continue along the gravel road until you come to a “pass” and trailhead. Don’t miss the sneaky left turn onto single track trail here. Once you’ve turned left you’ll follow the trail as it ascends steadily and steeply.

You’ll reach the summit of this small peak and then remain on top of the ridge for miles. Unfortunately this isn’t the fun type of ridge walking that’s exposed with stunning views, rather you’ll have constant ups and downs with no views at all due to the thick forest. The trail is rather steep and rocky in areas.

Razor Creek is an important water source to fill up at.  As you continue the rough trail gets a little better. You’ll still be high on a forested ridge for the majority of the time. As you near the end of the section you’ll start to have a few glimpses of the Collegiate Peaks in the distance, a reminder of what is to come after you trudge on through this section.

The single track trail turns to double track as you cross over Sargents Mesa. You’ll then descend slightly down to Sargents Mesa Trailhead where you’ll finally have an amazing view as the terrain opens up into a large meadow area with all the distant high mountain peaks visible.

This marks the end of Section 16.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Some views of the Collegiate Peaks near end of section.


Tough hiking with lots of ups and downs and limited views.

Trailhead Elevation

9,611.00 ft (2,929.43 m)

Highest point

11,768.00 ft (3,586.89 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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