Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
4,169.00 ft (1,270.71 m)
Trail type
11.40 mi (18.35 km)
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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 33.

Colorado Section 33 begins from a gravel road and the Fall River. The trail then climbs near another gravel road and parallels beneath it for a short distance, before ultimately crossing it. At this point hikers may continue on the CDT as it ascends through the forest, or take an alternate route that follows the forest road.

I’d recommend taking the alternate route, as it soon comes to Loch Lomand Lake. There is also lots of fantastic camping before Loch Lomand. Once at the lake, be sure to soak in the amazing views and perhaps take a dip. You’ll then walk across the earthen dam and find the trail that ascends steeply and ultimately meets back up with the CDT.

Once back on the CDT you’ll have amazing views back down to Loch Lomand and several other lakes. The trail continues to climb until you finally top out on the summit of James Peak (13,307’). The views from here are spectacular as you see the Indian Peaks spread out beneath you.

The trail then descends James Peak via switchbacks. A beautiful ridge walk then awaits. You’ll have views to the west of Winter Park Ski Area and the Fraser Valley, and to the east the ridge drops sharply away with views to many stunning high alpine lakes.

As you continue along the trail fades away in places, and it is faint at best in other areas. Continue following near the ridge top and watch for cairns and wooden posts that mark the path. There are quite a few ups and downs which makes for tiring hiking. In addition, the terrain underfoot is unfriendly and makes it easy to roll an ankle if not paying constant attention.

You’ll then descend slightly to Rollins Pass and the end of Section 33.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Beautiful views. Ridge walk.


A big climb to James Peak. Ridge walk is tiring.

Trailhead Elevation

10,127.00 ft (3,086.71 m)

Highest point

13,248.00 ft (4,037.99 m)


Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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