Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
2,920.00 ft (890.02 m)
Trail type
20.10 mi (32.35 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 25.

Section 25 of New Mexico is one of the first that feels like you’ve truly left the desert behind for the mountains.

You’ll begin by climbing up a series of small but well graded switchbacks, and soon entering some lovely pine forest. The trail then enters the San Pedro Parks Wilderness. Shortly after this you’ll come to San Gregorio Reservoir. This beautiful body of water is also a popular day hike with locals, so don’t expect to have it to yourself.

The CDT then leaves the lake behind and climbs alongside Clear Creek via the Las Vacas Trail. You’ll then cross the Rio de las Vacas Creek before following it upstream through a beautiful open meadow. This area can be quite boggy however, so don’t expect to keep your feet dry.

Watch for a sharp right turn and leave the creek behind before hiking overland for a while. A big descent soon awaits, over 3,000’ feet in about 10 miles, eventually ending at Highway 96 which also marks the end of Section 25.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



A first taste of the mountain terrain to come on the CDT. San Gregorio Reservoir. Mountains streams and meadows.

Trailhead Elevation

8,214.00 ft (2,503.63 m)

Highest point

10,565.00 ft (3,220.21 m)


Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Big vistas
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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