Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
5,228.00 ft (1,593.49 m)
Trail type
20.70 mi (33.31 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 31.

Colorado Section 31 begins from the popular Herman Gulch Trailhead alongside Interstate 70. The trail climbs steeply for a short distance, then mellows out but continues gradually uphill. The scenery is beautiful. After another steep climb you’ll want to watch for the junction where the CDT turns right. This lesser traveled trail takes you away form the crowds heading to Herman Lake.

The trail skirts around the mountainside to a pass, then descends a bit before a big ascent up to the ridgeline. The trail stays high on the ridge for miles, crossing over several small summits along the way. The views are spectacular, especially those looking back toward Pettingell Peak.

Continue along the ridge, eventually coming to Jones Pass where a 4x4 road crosses the trail. You’ll carry onward, entering the Vasquez Peak Wilderness Area with a great view down to Mcqueary Lake. The trail will then soon make a steep descent and ultimately leave the ridge.

You’ll pass below Vasquez Peak and continue contouring around the mountains, even entering into the forest for a while. The CDT then makes a big climb up to Stanley Mountain. You’ll be back on the ridge for a while after this.

Lastly, you’ll make a final descent down off the ridge and to Berthoud Pass. There is a large parking lot here and even a warming shelter with restrooms. The town of Winter Park can also be accessed by hitching north on Highway 40 from here.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Great ridge walking. Amazing views.

Trailhead Elevation

10,315.00 ft (3,144.01 m)

Highest point

13,204.00 ft (4,024.58 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.