Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
547.00 ft (166.73 m)
Trail type
13.10 mi (21.08 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 3.

New Mexico Section 3 begins at Highway 9. The small town of Hachita can be accessed from here. CDTC water cache box #3 is also located just south of the highway here.

Section 3 begins rather unexcitingly, but soon enters some nice terrain - arguably the prettiest of the CDT thus far for northbounders. You’ll arrive at Vista Tank, a likely dry cow pond. But the area is quite nice. There are a handful of small trees that provide shade, and also make for a great place to camp if arriving in the evening.

The trail then climbs slightly as it enters the Coyote Hills. The gently rolling hills provide a scenic landscape and a slight reprieve from the flat desolate landscape of the first two sections.

You’ll come to a large water tank and tire that make for an excellent water source. The trail then heads for a saddle but there is very minimal elevation gain to get there. The trail then works its way down to Highway 113. Just before the highway is CDTC water cache box #4.

Highway 113 marks the end of Section 3.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Some gently rolling hills and scenic terrain.


Desert heat. Limited shade and water.

Trailhead Elevation

4,705.00 ft (1,434.08 m)

Highest point

4,820.00 ft (1,469.14 m)


Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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