Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
1,967.00 ft (599.54 m)
Trail type
38.40 mi (61.80 km)
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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 Wyoming portion of the CDT features nearly 550 miles of incredibly diverse terrain. You’ll pass through the open desert plains of the Great Basin, the craggy ice carved peaks of the Wind River Range, and the steaming geysers and volcanic activity of Yellowstone National Park. In this guide we’ll take a closer look at the Sage Creek Road Alternate.

The Sage Creek Road Alternate is a popular choice with thru-hikers because it saves over 20 miles of hiking compared to the official CDT route. The downside is that you’ll have a nearly 40 mile paved road walk. There is some gravel shoulder in areas, so you won’t have to walk directly on the pavement for the entirety of the alternate.

The alternate begins where the CDT comes to Sage Creek Road. The official route follows the road for a short distance, then veers off to the left. Ignore this and continue along the road. As you might expect, navigation is zero issue here as you simply follow the road all the way into the town of Rawlins.

Water can be an issue however. There are some natural sources (Sage Creek, Lone Tree Creek, Miller Creek, Teton Reservoir Creek) but all of these contain nasty, milky water if they aren’t dry. Thankfully, as of the 2022 season, there are 3 water caches along the road. The 3 caches are fairly evenly spaced out. As for reliability, most hikers have reported the caches as stocked, but it is never wise to rely entirely upon any water cache.

Traffic is light on Sage Creek Road, but you will see a few vehicles. Many hikers report that locals have stopped to offer them water, snacks or even beer. It is certainly possible (with a little patience) to hitch a ride into town.

The alternate rejoins the official CDT just before Rawlins as they both follow Sage Creek Road into town. Hikers will then cross over the railroad tracks and arrive in downtown Rawlins. This marks the end of the Sage Creek Road Alternate.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Saves 20+ miles compared to official CDT route. Nice views.


Nearly 40 miles of paved road walking. Water can be an issue.

Trailhead Elevation

7,724.00 ft (2,354.28 m)

Highest point

8,127.00 ft (2,477.11 m)


Vault toilet
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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