Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
4,607.00 ft (1,404.21 m)
Trail type
25.60 mi (41.20 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 7.

Montana-Idaho Section 7 begins at Morrison Lake, a popular destination with car campers - especially on weekends. You’ll then begin a climb up to a ridge and the Continental Divide. You’ll follow this ridge for much of Section 7.

The trail is a doubletrack 4x4 road throughout this stretch. As you traverse across the exposed hills you’ll have many ups and downs as the trail stays right on top of the ridge. This doesn’t make for an easy day of hiking, but the views are great.

As you near Elk Mountain there is a good water source, a spring. The trail then turns to singletrack as you begin the climb up Elk Mountain. You’ll come to another spring before continuing climbing. The trail then tops out just shy of the summit of Elk Mountain.

The next mile of trail is very enjoyable with a bit of ridge walking and fantastic views. The CDT then begins a long descent. The singletrack turns back to doubletrack 4x4 road as you continue.

You’ll finally reach Highway 29 at Bannock Pass. This marks the end of Section 7. The small town of Leadore can be accessed from here, but you may have to wait a while for a hitch as traffic here is very limited.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Trail remains on ridge for much of section. Good views.


Follows 4x4 road for much of section. Lots of ups and downs.

Trailhead Elevation

8,236.00 ft (2,510.33 m)

Highest point

10,102.00 ft (3,079.09 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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