Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,268.00 ft (386.49 m)
Trail type
12.60 mi (20.28 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 35.

Colorado Section 35 begins from the parking area near Monarch Lake. You’ll hike the gravel road until Lake Granby begins to come into sight. The trail then passes through a campground (where there are water spigots you can fill up at) and then finally comes to the shores of the lake.

Lake Granby is a large and beautiful body of water. The trail passes beside a couple of lovely sandy beaches that make a perfect spot to go for a swim. Once you’ve enjoyed taking a dip, carry on as the trail continues to follow the lakeshore, although soon gains some elevation making it impossible to access the water.

There is only one big climb on Section 35, after which you’ll be atop Knight Ridge with some solid views down to the lake. The trail then leaves the water for a while, but will soon rejoin Lake Granby at the Colorado River Arm.

You’ll then enter Rocky Mountain National Park as you continue following the Colorado River Arm of the lake. The CDT will soon leave the lake and enter some meadows, then swampy terrain. Finally you’ll leave the swamps behind and walk along the shore of Shadow Mountain Lake. You’ll see lots of homes on the other side which means that you’re getting close to Grand Lake and the end of the section.

Section 35 then ends at the trailhead.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Lots of lake time.

Trailhead Elevation

8,291.00 ft (2,527.10 m)

Highest point

9,004.00 ft (2,744.42 m)


Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Big vistas
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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