Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,421.00 ft (433.12 m)
Trail type
16.30 mi (26.23 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 26.

Section 26 is the first taste of Glacier National Park for northbound thru hikers. It might be a bit of a disappointment, but don’t worry - Glacier gets much better as you continue north!

The section begins from Marias Pass and Highway 2. You’ll cross the train tracks and head into the forest. Turn right onto the Autumn Creek Trail which you’ll be following for the majority of this section.

The trail stays low, with some sections being a bit brushy. There are some views to the mountains above, but nothing compared to what awaits the northbound thru hiker in just a couple days.

You’ll eventually leave the national park and enter Blackfoot Reservation land. Note that a Blackfoot recreation permit is required to hike these few miles.

The trail turns to doubletrack as you near the small town of East Glacier. Here you’ll find lodging options (including an inexpensive hostel popular with hikers), dining, and a small store adequate for resupply.

The CDT curves westward while following gravel roads away from town. This marks the end of Section 26.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Easy hiking, minimal elevation gain.


Not a very exciting first taste of Glacier National Park (it gets much better).

Trailhead Elevation

5,223.00 ft (1,591.97 m)

Highest point

5,947.00 ft (1,812.65 m)


Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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