Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
1,404.00 ft (427.94 m)
Trail type
20.20 mi (32.51 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 2.

Section 2 begins at Highway 81. There is a water cache box maintained by the CDTC just south of the highway here. The trail begins as single track. The Little Hatchet Mountains provide scenic views to the left of trail. As is the case for most of the CDT in this area, there is very little shade available in this harsh desert landscape.

The trail then turns into double track and follows a rough and rocky 4x4 road. There are lots of small ups and downs along this stretch of the CDT. The trail eventually mellows out. There is a lovely large shade tree with a possible water cache located near it as well. If the water cache here is not stocked, there is a water tank located a short distance from the CDT further up the trail.

You’ll continue walking toward Highway 9, then the trail crosses a gravel road and turns to the left. In another few miles the trail will finally come to Highway 9 and CDTC water cache #3. The landscape here is still barren with very little shade. It is possible to hitch a ride into the tiny town of Hachita from here.

Highway 9 marks the end of Section 2.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Cactus in bloom (depending on season). Open desert views.


Harsh landscape. Limited water. Heat. Little shade.

Trailhead Elevation

4,384.00 ft (1,336.24 m)

Highest point

5,050.00 ft (1,539.24 m)


Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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