Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
5,265.00 ft (1,604.77 m)
Trail type
31.50 mi (50.69 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 30.

This section begins from Many Glacier. Here you’ll find lodging, camping and a small store to resupply at for the final push to Canada. Northbound hikers have two options - taking Section 30 to Waterton Lake, or taking Section 31 to Chief Mountain. Both are valid options for finishing the CDT.

Section 30 begins by passing a couple of nice lakes including Redrock and Bullhead. You’ll then begin the big climb up to Swiftcurrent Pass. It’s a steady inline, and along the way you’ll gain views of the scenic lake valley you were just down in.

After toping out on the pass you’ll descend to a junction. Taking the short side trip to the Granite Park Chalet is worth it, although be warned that if you intend to buy anything here the prices are fairly outrageous ($11.50 for a liter bottle of water).

Continuing onward you’ll follow the Highline Trail north and begin to leave the crowds of dayhikers behind. The trail mostly contours the west side of the high peaks, but there are of course some minor climbs and descents.

The Ahern Snow Drift may cause issues, especially for early season hikers. In this area you’ll find the trail covered by a large patch of snow. The slope angle is what makes crossing the snow tricky, as it is steep. Without microspikes you may need to wait until late afternoon when the snow becomes soft enough to kick in steps, or (perhaps easiest) descend the loose scree and hike below the snow drift, then climb back up to trail.

Without a doubt, one of the highlights of this section is the short side trail up to the Sue Lake Observation Point. It is well worth the extra effort for this spectacular view.

The trail then descends to the Waterton River where it may become brushy and overgrown in areas. This is also the end of the great mountain views.

The trail continues through the valley until reaching Goat Haunt. To reach the Canadian border, continue around the west side of Waterton Lake. You’ll come to the boundary which is picturesquely located right on the lake. There’s a great swimming spot here as well.

Hikers may cross the international border and continue the few miles to Waterton Townsite, but be sure to check beforehand on current border crossing regulations and requirements.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Great views climbing up Swiftcurrent Pass. Waterton Lake is gorgeous.


Not quite as spectacular as previous sections in Glacier. Brushy, overgrown trail near Goat Haunt.

Trailhead Elevation

4,886.00 ft (1,489.25 m)

Highest point

7,403.00 ft (2,256.43 m)


Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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