Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
4,330.00 ft (1,319.78 m)
Trail type
27.60 mi (44.42 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 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 8.

Montana-Idaho Section 8 begins at Bannock Pass and Highway 29. The tiny town of Leadore can be accessed from here, but it is a difficult hitch. The CDT follows a road for a short distance then veers quickly to the right onto nice singletrack.

You’ll climb gradually through some forested terrain, a nice change from the constant exposed ups and downs of the previous section. There are a few water options, one spring is located a ways off trail, but another one just past it is located close to trail.

Continuing along you’ll break out of the forest and into an open landscape. There is no shade for a while as you cross and then climb. After climbing you’ll pass an ice cold spring that flows right across the trail, one of the best water sources in a while!

The CDT then joins a 4x4 road and will follow it for essentially the remainder of Section 8. The road mostly follows the top of the ridge, with some climbs and great views. Make sure to fill up at the next spring (just off trail) as it is the last water for a while.

You’ll continue following the 4x4 road with some minor ups and downs, then after a steep descent you’ll veer to the left onto single track for a couple miles. This is a nice break from the road. This trail then ties back in with the road near Lemhi Pass, which marks the end of Section 8. Be sure to take the side road down to Sacajawea Campground and “The Most Distant Fountain.” This is also the last water source for about 20 miles, so be sure to fill up!

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Nice forested hiking to begin. Some good views from ridge later on.


Water sources are a bit off trail and far apart.

Trailhead Elevation

7,686.00 ft (2,342.69 m)

Highest point

9,478.00 ft (2,888.89 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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