Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
1,669.00 ft (508.71 m)
Trail type
21.30 mi (34.28 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 34.

Colorado Section 34 begins from Rollins Pass. You’ll immediately enter the Indian Peak Wilderness Area. A short distance after entering the wilderness is a beautiful view down to King Lake. If you feel like making a short side trip this is a worthwhile destination. Otherwise, continue on the CDT as it makes a short but steep climb up to the ridge.

The trail then mellows out as it stays near the ridgetop, with great views to the west. You’ll continue on until reaching Devil’s Thumb Pass. The trail then turns sharply to the left and descends.

You’ll drop out of the high alpine and enter into the forest as the trail continues to descend through some gnarly blowdowns (that have thankfully all been cleared). The trail crosses many streams and is very mellow hiking through forest, meadows and wetlands. The abundance of water in this area makes mosquitoes a common annoyance during summer months.

Continue along, crossing the occasional boardwalk that leads over marshy areas, and eventually you’ll come to Junco Lake Trailhead. There is a cabin here but it is not for hikers to use. There are however toilets and a trash can. The trail then continues, or hikers can take the gravel forest road as an alternate that passes near Meadow Creek Reservoir.

The trail passes by the remains of an old cabin and then switchbacks down toward Monarch Lake. The CDT skirts the south side of the lake, but access to the shore is limited until the trail curves around to the west side.

Monarch Lake is an extremely popular destination with tourists, and you’re sure to see a lot of them. You’ll reach a small visitor information center that is staffed with someone from the Forest Service. There are also picnic tables and vault toilets here.

This marks the end of Section 34.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Good views at start of section 34. Nice lake to end section.


A fair amount of unexciting terrain in the middle of section 34.

Trailhead Elevation

11,683.00 ft (3,560.98 m)

Highest point

12,038.00 ft (3,669.18 m)


Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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