Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
9,788.00 ft (2,983.38 m)
Trail type
59.20 mi (95.27 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 23.

Section 23 begins from Rogers Pass where hikers can hitch to the small town of Lincoln to resupply if needed. This section is a roller coaster with lots of vert and near constant ups and downs.

From the pass you’ll switchback your way up. Before long the trail gains a nice ridge with good views. There is also a unique yurt just beside trail here.

More ups and downs wait after this, then a small spring. Be sure to fill up here as its the last water source for about 12 miles. You’ll then top out on Green Mountain before descending to Lewis and Clark Pass.

The trail continues following the ridge (lots of vert yay!) over Red Mountain, near Caribou Peak, and down to a small pond (water source). The views are spectacular.

Continue more or less along the ridge, until soon starting the big descent to the Dearborn River. There’s a nice meadow area just before the river and some good camping. The river crossing could be high during early summer so use caution.

You’ll follow beside the river for a while, eventually crossing it again. The trail enters a burn area around this point.

Begin climbing a bit, before eventually following Straight Creek downstream. The trail continues to follow the creek valley (through burn area) until it is time to turn left and head up Elbow Pass. At this point however you may wish to take the Straight Creek Alternate and continue straight as it saves some mileage, vert and provides easier access to Benchmark Road and your next potential resupply (Augusta or Benchmark Wilderness Ranch).

Regardless of which route you choose, Section 23 comes to an end just past South Fork Campground, where “The Bob” awaits (Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex).

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Great mountain vistas. Ridge walks.


Lots of vert. Limited water sources.

Trailhead Elevation

5,759.00 ft (1,755.34 m)

Highest point

8,330.00 ft (2,538.98 m)


Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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