Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,691.00 ft (515.42 m)
Trail type
24.30 mi (39.11 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 nearly 3,100 miles across 5 states from Mexico to Canada, traversing a vast array of different environments and landscapes along the way. The CDT can be completed as a single thru-hike that will take 4 to 6 months, or by section-hiking smaller segments. The Wyoming portion of the CDT features nearly 550 miles of incredibly diverse terrain. You’ll pass through the open desert plains of the Great Basin, the craggy ice carved peaks of the Wind River Range, and the steaming geysers and volcanic activity of Yellowstone National Park. In this guide we’ll take a closer look at Wyoming Section 21.

Wyoming Section 21 begins from Highway 287 and the Heart Lake Trailhead. From here hikers can access Grant Village, a popular stop to resupply or get backcountry camping permits (required to camp within the park).

From the highway the trail is flat and easy hiking until reaching Shoshone Lake. Enjoy the views of this beautiful lake (and don’t worry, you’ll see more of it later) then cross the Lewis River and begin a bit of a climb (short but surprisingly steep in areas). There are some more ups and downs as you continue around the lake, including one steep descent.

You’ll then arrive at the lakeshore again, a perfect spot for a swim. The trail then travels through a boggy, swampy area. There is no keeping your feet dry or clean through this stretch. But it is worth it, because just after the bog you’ll come to a geyser basin.

This fascinating area is full of geysers and bubbling hot pools. Please stay on the trail for your safety, but enjoy this amazing area! The trail then leaves the geyser basin and will eventually come to the Firehole River. There are a few nice backcountry campsites in this area (permit required).

You’ll then pass the junction to the Lone Star Geyser, and soon begin a slight descent down to the Old Faithful Village. Section 21 ends just before reaching the village.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

National Park Pass

Open Year-round



Shoshone Lake. Amazing geyser basin.

Trailhead Elevation

7,793.00 ft (2,375.31 m)

Highest point

8,194.00 ft (2,497.53 m)


Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Geologically significant
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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