Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
1,960.00 ft (597.41 m)
Trail type
14.70 mi (23.66 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 27.

Section 27 begins at the Rio Chama River. Many hikers will choose to take the Ghost Ranch Alternate Route that also begins from here, but the official CDT offers some spectacular views from the top of a mesa that would be missed along the alternate.

You’ll have a steady climb to begin the section. You’ll soon reenter the Chama River Canyon Wilderness, and in a couple miles top out on the mesa.

From this point on you’ll have fantastic views down to the colorful canyon walls below, the Rio Chama, and Abiquiu Lake. The trail stays close to the rim of the mesa for miles, offering easy, scenic and enjoyable hiking.

Toward the end of Section 27 you’ll finally leave the mesa rim behind and begin the descent down to Highway 84. The highway marks the end of this section. From here you can hitch into the tiny town of Abiquiu or Chama if in need of resupply.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Trail follows rim of mesa for miles with stunning views.


Not as easy to resupply as the Ghost Ranch Alternate.

Trailhead Elevation

6,340.00 ft (1,932.43 m)

Highest point

8,096.00 ft (2,467.66 m)


Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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