Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
4,176.00 ft (1,272.84 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, traversing 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 Montana-Idaho portion of the CDT features nearly 1,000 miles of diverse mountain terrain. You’ll pass alongside the lofty peaks of the Anaconda, Bitterroot and Beaverhead Mountains; walk through the rugged and remote Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex; and finally arrive at the “Crown of the Continent” that is Glacier National Park. In this guide we’ll take a closer look at Montana-Idaho Section 9.

Montana-Idaho Section 9 begins from Lemhi Pass. The Sacajawea Memorial and Campground is located just down a side road from here, as is “The Most Distant Spring.” This is an important water source, as the trail is dry for the next 20 miles. However it is possible to take an alternate, or veer off the CDT to reach a water source that will cut this water carry in half.

From the pass the CDT ascends straight up the hill. Warm Springs Road contours around the hill to the left and features a much more mellow ascent, although it does add a bit of mileage. If you choose to take the road it is a nice walk up, and you will pass beside a water source. Pattee Creek is the water source that breaks up the otherwise 20 mile carry.

From the creek, take a right off Warm Springs Road onto Road 184. Then watch for a 4x4 road to the right. Take this 4x4 road which will lead the short distance back to the CDT. Once back on trail you’ll have singletrack and a bit of climbing. The CDT then enters a burn area.

After the burn area you’ll be back into the thick, young forest. Another climb awaits, then some slight ups and downs. As you near the end of Section 9 there are some bigger climbs, including one last ascent that leads up a rocky and exposed ridge, offering the most exciting hiking and best views of the section.

A steep descent then leads to a gravel 4x4 road and Goldstone Pass. This marks the end of Section 9. A spring is located to the left just down the hill from trail, the first water source since Lemhi Pass if you didn’t take the detour to Pattee Creek.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



A fun stretch of rocky ridge hiking near end of section.


20 mile waterless stretch (unless detouring to Pattee Creek).

Trailhead Elevation

7,387.00 ft (2,251.56 m)

Highest point

9,715.00 ft (2,961.13 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.