Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
1,841.00 ft (561.14 m)
Trail type
30.90 mi (49.73 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 40.

Colorado Section 40 is one of the least desirable sections of the CDT, at least in Colorado. The section is composed entirely of road walking. It begins at Forest Road 104 high on a ridge. This first stretch of road walking on the 4x4 road is quite enjoyable. There are good views at first, and the gentle downhill grade is a welcome change from the steep ups and downs of the previous section.

You’ll pass a small spring beside the road, a good water source. The trail keeps descending and becomes less exciting the further you go. There are a few junctions, you’ll want to pay attention to your map and watch for CDT blazes to make sure you follow the correct road.

Indian Creek is a good water source further down the road, and there is also often a trail angel camping around this area that sets a water cache for hikers. As you continue the terrain opens up and you’ll soon lose the shade of the forest. Continue until you reach Highway 14.

Take a sharp left onto Highway 14 and begin what may be the worst road walk of the entire CDT. For 9 miles the trail follows the highway. There is minimal shoulder, and no opportunities to find shade or a place to rest, let alone camp.

There are a couple water sources along this road walk, although you’ll definitely want your filter. The road comes out to Highway 40. This is where most thru hikers will hitch into Steamboat Springs for resupply. The trail then follows the highway for about 2 miles before finally peeling off onto a forest road. This dirt road turns into a paved road before coming to Rabbit Ears Pass, which marks the end of Section 40.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



The start of Section 40 is an enjoyable, easy 4x4 road walk.


Road walking the entire way. An awful stretch along the highway.

Trailhead Elevation

11,450.00 ft (3,489.96 m)

Highest point

11,450.00 ft (3,489.96 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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