Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
4,805.00 ft (1,464.56 m)
Trail type
19.80 mi (31.86 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 4.

Section 4 begins from Wolf Creek Pass where the town of Pagosa Springs can be accessed to the southwest. From the pass the trail begins climbing. The terrain isn’t the most exciting at first, although you’ll have the occasional decent view and pass a small pond or two.

You’ll contour along, eventually getting into more beautiful terrain. Things really get good as you descend to Spotted Lake. This beautiful small lake makes a great place to camp for a night as well.

Not far after is larger Archuleta Lake. A big climb awaits, taking hikers to the top of a ridge offering stunning views. In fact the entirety of this next stretch is pretty stunning.

You’ll descend a bit, still following the ridge. The trail continues following the ridge but curves to the west. A few climbs and descents await, but nothing too strenuous. This section is a bit dry on water, but there is a small spring located a bit off trail at one point.

You’ll then have a decent climb up to a high point, the view from which is stunning. You’ll be able to see back to the entire ridge that you just walked to get here. The views of the San Juan Mountains that seem to go on endlessly are also stunning.

The trail makes a short descent, then climbs again to another high point. You’ll contour around a knob then descend slightly to a trail junction. This marks the end of Section 4. Enjoy the unbelievable views then descend.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



A couple nice lakes. A long, stunning ridge walk leading to a high point with amazing views.


Not the most exciting at first. A lack of water along the ridge walk.

Trailhead Elevation

10,853.00 ft (3,307.99 m)

Highest point

12,847.00 ft (3,915.77 m)


Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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