Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
2,275.00 ft (693.42 m)
Trail type
30.60 mi (49.25 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 some 3,100 miles across 5 states from Mexico to Canada. The trail travels through the Rocky Mountains, exploring a vast array of different environments and landscapes along the way. The New Mexico portion of the trail features 820 miles of diverse hiking from the desolate Chihuahuan Desert in the south, to the unique Canyons of the Gila River, to the Rocky Mountains in the north. Exploring the Continental Divide Trail can be done as a single thru hike that will take 4-6 months, or by section hiking smaller segments. In this guide we’ll look at New Mexico Section 23.

Section 23 is an interesting and diverse segment of the CDT. You’ll begin by climbing slightly up to the top of a large mesa. But before you do, make sure to fill up on water at Los Indios Spring as there won’t be any more until you descend off the mesa.

Once atop, the walking is easy and enjoyable singletrack. There is one fantastic viewpoint as you near the edge of the mesa. Views are then limited until you reach the far end of the mesa and begin to descend. From here the landscape drops away down to the desert floor below and is spectacular.

After the steep descent you’ll probably want to stop at the Ojo Frio Spring, just off trail. You’ll then continue onward, crossing the large and impressive Arroyo Chico Wash.

The terrain is mellow for a while afterward as you pass near some private property.

You’ll then enter the La Lena Wilderness Study Area and pass by some intriguing small hoodoo like rock formations.  The trail then climbs atop a ridge which you’ll follow until you cross a moderately trafficked road.

Shortly after this road is an often reliable water cache. The CDT then continues onward and is relatively unexciting as it heads toward the Deadman Peaks and the end of Section 23.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Diverse section. Great views. Interesting landscapes.


A couple long water carries.

Trailhead Elevation

7,914.00 ft (2,412.19 m)

Highest point

8,165.00 ft (2,488.69 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas
Geologically significant

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Adventures


Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.