Hiking the Continental Divide Trail

A line that separates the accumulated water flowing from mountain peaks to a continent is called a continental divide. In mountainous countries, a divide may stretch along mountain ridges and peaks. It is sometimes called a dividing range.

The Great Divide or Continental Divide found in the North and South American continent separates the watersheds of the Pacific Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean.

Along the continental divide lies the Continental Divide Trail, also famously known as the "King of Trails". It is a 3,100-mile (5,000 kilometers) challenging thru-hike for hiking fanatics. The trail:

•    traverses the highest point of the Rocky Mountains starting from Canada to Mexico all the way through the states of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico
•    passes through 8 Bureau of Land Management Resource areas, 1 National Monument, 20 Wilderness, 3 National Parks and 25 National Forests
•    highest point is 14,270 feet at Grays Peak, Colorado with a lowest point of 3,900 feet at Columbus, New Mexico
•    intersects with Hudson Bay, Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean, also called the Triple Divide Peak of Montana
•    average elevation is more than 11,000 feet
•    the Continental Divide Trail takes nearly 6 months or half of a year to complete at a pace of 17 miles per day
•    passes through ancient and historic sites like centuries old Indian grinding holes and petroglyphs in New Mexico

The CDT is one of the famous three long distance thru-hikes in the United States. It also has the most remote wilderness and the most spectacular mountain scenery. Commonly called one of the “Triple Crown Trails”, the other two are the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail.

The Continental Divide Trail is a work-in-progress because many areas are still undefined. It will all depend on the hiker to find the correct route by choosing his navigation tools smartly.

Professional hikers planning for a thru-hike should prepare themselves physically to endure the tough six months, 17 miles trek a day.

Water is a precious commodity while hiking the Continental Divide Trail. Other parts of the trail run in boundless dry lands and mountains without means to fresh water. A hiker needs at least 2 to 3 liters of water a day to replenish fluid loss brought about by the strenuous, long hike.

Next to water, extra battery for Android phone and solar charger is necessary.

Cell phone signal in the Continental Divide Trail is nearly impossible because either the trails are too remote or the signals are blocked by the mountains.

Nevertheless, Android GPS phones can still function as GPS even in areas without network coverage as long as maps are stored in the phone before the start of the trail. Some apps for Android GPS phones like BackCountry Navigator can download stored maps from the phone memory and view custom waypoints even without a cell phone signal.

GPS is more accurate and convenient than a compass and map packs. Viewing a topo map offline using an Android GPS phone is possible. Topographic maps from U.S.G.S. are recommended as ideal because it shows the terrain detail.

Upload a U.S.G.S. topo map in your phone before you hike and use BackCountry Navigator app to view it while on trail. Location is very important when hiking the CDT. BackCountry Navigator Android hiking app will not fail you in one of the most fulfilling hikes of your life.