Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
4,351.00 ft (1,326.18 m)
Trail type
24.70 mi (39.75 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 2.

Section 2 begins from Blue Lake and is where the San Juans really start getting good.

From the lake you’ll climb to a high point, then descend before starting a large contour around a beautiful valley. The views are stunning. You’ll begin climbing toward the end of the contour, then top out on a ridge. Switchbacks lead down to the next valley where you’ll contour again. Note that the trail can be quite faint throughout Section 2, so pay attention.

Counting along, eventually gaining a pass. The trail continues to contour and makes a sharp, nearly 180 degree turn over a ridge (keep watch for this one!). You’ll then descend down to the Adams Fork Conejos River.

The CDT follows this beautiful river valley up before leaving it to contour around Summit Peak. You’ll continue along with some truly top notch hiking, remaining above 12,500’ and passing near Montezuma Peak and Long Trek Mountain.

You’ll exit the South San Juan Wilderness and eventually descend to Elwood Pass. You may run into some motorists here, as it appears to be a popular area despite how remote it is. Elwood Pass also marks the end of Section 2.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Stunning mountains. Excellent hiking.


Faint trail in areas.

Trailhead Elevation

11,507.00 ft (3,507.33 m)

Highest point

12,659.00 ft (3,858.46 m)


Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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