Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
1,554.00 ft (473.66 m)
Trail type
26.20 mi (42.16 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 some 3,100 miles across 5 states from Mexico to Canada. The trail travels through the Rocky Mountains, exploring a vast array of different environments and landscapes along the way. The New Mexico portion of the trail features 820 miles of diverse hiking from the desolate Chihuahuan Desert in the south, to the unique Canyons of the Gila River, to the Rocky Mountains in the north. Exploring the Continental Divide Trail can be done as a single thru hike that will take 4-6 months, or by section hiking smaller segments. In this guide we’ll look at New Mexico Section 1.

Section 1 begins at the US/Mexico border at Crazy Cook Monument. Getting here is a real challenge. Most thru hikers choose to utilize one of the shuttle service provided by either the CDTC or Crazy Cook. Shuttles run from the town of Lordsburg to the Terminus and cost around $150 (as of 2022). If you have a vehicle that is capable of handling the rough road to Crazy Cook you may drive yourself, but be aware that Border Patrol asks that you not leave any vehicles parked near the border.

Once you’ve made it out and taken some photos at the monument it’s time to get hiking. For about 2 miles the CDT is single track and well signed. You’ll then cross over the road you drove in on and then continue straight as the trail turns into double track. You’ll gain a slight bit of elevation as you carry on.

Around mile 7 the trail joins a wash. There are some small patches of shade here and there, the first of the trail. Walking through the gravely wash is tough going at times. Be sure to watch for a CDT marker when it is time to leave the wash.

You’ll then gain some ever so slight elevation before the trail enters another wash. Follow the wash all the way to the road and the first water cache (the CDTC maintains 5 water caches from Crazy Cook to Lordsburg). There is also a very nice large shade tree along this stretch.

From the first water cache most hikers choose to walk the gravel road instead of taking the official CDT which can be tough to follow and overgrown in areas. If taking the road you’ll have easy walking for a while, and enjoy views of the Big Hatchet Mountains to your left.

Continue until you again reach the official CDT. Turn right onto the trail. The trail here is marked but faint in areas. Continue until the second water cache and Highway 81. This marks the end of Section 1.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Unique desert hiking.


Barren landscape. Heat. Little shade. No natural water sources.

Trailhead Elevation

4,300.00 ft (1,310.64 m)

Highest point

5,269.00 ft (1,605.99 m)


Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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