Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
6,542.00 ft (1,994.00 m)
Trail type
35.00 mi (56.33 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 2.

Montana-Idaho Section 2 begins from Highway 20 and Targhee Pass, where the town of West Yellowstone can be accessed. You’ll begin by following the doubletrack trail away from the highway, but it quickly turns to singletrack.

You’ll gain elevation as you climb up into the hills. In fact, this is the first time back into some “proper mountains” for northbound thru-hikers since entering Yellowstone National Park. As you climb you’ll have great views toward the National Park and of some nearby lakes.

You’ll continue climbing but it is fairly gradual, with no extreme steep grades. From the ridge you’ll cross over the Lionhead and have great views of impressive Bald Mountain. The trail then descends down to a creek, before again climbing and topping out at Targhee Pass. The views from here are fantastic.

You’ll then begin a long descent featuring a series of switchbacks down into the Mile Creek valley. You’ll follow this valley down until the forest suddenly gives away to a barren and open landscape. Continue descending to the highway.

The trail crosses Highway 87 then climbs and joins a dirt road. Continue following this road. You’ll come to a great water source, a natural spring. After ascending, the road then descends to Red Rock Pass. This marks the end of Section 2.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Some fantastic mountain views. Best mountain hiking since before Yellowstone.

Trailhead Elevation

7,081.00 ft (2,158.29 m)

Highest point

10,012.00 ft (3,051.66 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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