Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
3,621.00 ft (1,103.68 m)
Trail type
33.50 mi (53.91 km)
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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 5.

Section 5 begins just south of Lordsburg on Highway 494. You’ll follow this main road directly into town. For thru hikers who have just completed the entire bootheel of New Mexico, getting to Lordsburg is quite the accomplishment. Kranberry’s Restaurant is a popular stop with hikers, as is the Econolodge if planning on spending the night in town.

Otherwise, continue straight through town and follow Highway 70 as it leads out of town. In a couple miles veer right onto Highway 90, then keep an eye open for a spot to duck under the barbed wire fence (between two blue fence posts) and leave the highway.

The trail then leads across the flat barren desert. In places it may be difficult to determine where exactly the trail is. Just consult your map and continue on a bearing that will take you where you need to go (toward the mountains in the distance).

There is a windmill and water tank located about 1/4 mile to the right of trail along this stretch. Be sure to fill up here as it is another 20 miles until the next water.

After crossing the flatlands you’ll begin to head up into the mountains a bit. You’ll gain some elevation. Trees begin to appear, a welcome sight. The trail does follow a sandy road for a while, which makes for a calf workout.

Eventually you’ll work your way down to Highway 90 and cross it. The trail is nice single track after crossing the highway. A short ways to the left of trail is a water source. It’s just a cow tank fed by a solar well, but it’s the first water in 20 miles so you can’t be picky.

The trail then gains a bit of elevation as it heads toward Jacks Peak Trailhead and the end of Section 5.


Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Nice desert scenery.


Highway walking through Lordsburg. Long waterless stretch.

Trailhead Elevation

4,415.00 ft (1,345.69 m)

Highest point

6,648.00 ft (2,026.31 m)


Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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