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Continental Divide Trail (Sec. 1-3)

  • Wyoming Trailhead
  • Rabbit Ears Trailhead

Activities: Hiking, Backpacking, Biking (cannot bike through Mount Zirkel Wilderness)

Closest City / Town: Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Driving Directions:
  • Wyoming Trailhead: From Steamboat Springs, head west on US-40 for 1.5 miles to County Road (CR) 129.  Hang a right on CR 129, and head north for 30 miles to Forest Route (FR) 550.  Take a right on FR 550 (towards Whiskey Park), and go 16.4 miles to the trailhead.  The trailhead is on the right side of the road and 0.1 miles past the intersection with FR 550.2E.  NOTE: This trailhead is difficult to locate – take your time.
  • Rabbit Ears Trailhead: The trailhead is located on US-40, 2.5 miles west of its intersection with Colorado Highway 14 (south TH).

Hiking Distance: 63 miles (one way backpacking trip!)

Description: This trail is best done as a 4 to 5 day shuttle backpacking trip.   Essentially, this trek encompasses the northern-most 63 miles of the Colorado portion of the Continental Divide Trail.  Along the way, you will gain over 8,000 feet in elevation.  In other words, this is a tough hike.

If you begin from the north, you should bring a lot of water for the first 20 miles.  After that, water is generally abundant (although you may have to filter out of some murky holes).  The views are absolutely mind-blowing, deer and elk seem to be everywhere, and parts of the trail are seldom traveled.  Be sure to pack a camera!

Worth Noting: Mosquitoes, Mosquitoes, and yes folks, more mosquitoes.  One of The Colorado Hiker’s editors made the blood draining error of leaving his tent behind at home for a tarp.  Needless to say, he counted sheep and slapped skeeters all night long.  The area is swamped with the parasites between June 15 & August 1.

Suggested Materials:
  • Tom Lorang Jones & John Fielder, Colorado’s Continental Divide Trail: The Official Guide, Sections 1-3.


Categories: 10+ miles backpacking, Backpacking, Continental Divide Trail, Dog friendly, Lake, Potential lightening hazard, Very Difficult