Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
3,566.00 ft (1,086.92 m)
Trail type
35.60 mi (57.29 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 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 Wyoming Section 16.

Wyoming Section 16 begins from Union Pass Road. It then ascends slightly to Lake of the Woods. The trail passes around this scenic, medium sized lake with a couple of opportunities to access the water.

The trail then turns to forest roads which you’ll follow down to some cow pasture land, then across an open field. Salt Creek is an important water source here.

The trail then climbs and you’ll come to your first choice of alternate. Turning left will keep you on the official CDT track, but staying right on the forest road will top out on an open hilltop with great views, including views of the Tetons in the far distance.

From this alternate route you can then continue back to the CDT, or take an additional alternate (as described here) that will save some milage and lead right beside Lava Mountain Lodge. The only downside is that it includes a lot of road walking, both gravel and paved.

To start this alternate take the ATV trail to the right just before Fish Lake Mountain. Follow this all the way down until road 532. Turn left and continue following road 532 all the way out to Highway 26. There are several water sources along this stretch.

Turn left and walk the highway. In about 3 miles you’ll pass Lava Mountain Lodge on your left. There is a restaurant here. The lodge will also hold resupply packages for CDT hikers if you wish to mail yourself one in advance.

You’ll then continue along the highway for about 4 more miles until turning right onto the gravel road toward Brooks Lake. Follow this road (with great views of the Pinnacle Buttes) until you reach Brooks Lake. You’ll then follow the trails around the western side of the lake and beyond until you reach Upper Brooks Lake. The trail then rejoins the official CDT where you’ll be back on track!

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Views of the Tetons. Pinnacle Buttes.


Lots of road walking on the alternate.

Trailhead Elevation

9,202.00 ft (2,804.77 m)

Highest point

9,748.00 ft (2,971.19 m)


Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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