Continental Divide National Scenic Trail
The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail is massive (the largest on this list), crossing five states as it winds from Canada to New Mexico. “I’ve done a couple hundred miles of it, and it’s unmatched in its sense of wilderness, at least in the continental U.S.,” says Davis. “There’s no other trail as long that feels as wild.”
Besides dealing with longer time in between resupply points due to the trails’ remoteness, thru-hikers cite navigation as their biggest challenge. “We call it the ‘choose your own adventure trail’ because there’s multiple trail options in a lot of parts,” says Whitney LaRuffa, President of the American Long Distance Hiking Association West, and the founder of Allgood’s K9 Adventures. “No one really ever walks the same route.”
Time to Complete: 6-8 months
Terrain: Primarily mountain terrain (including the Continental Divide), along with some rangeland in Wyoming and desert in New Mexico.
Best Segment You Can Do In a Day: St. Mary Falls Trailhead to Many Glacier via Piegan Pass (15.6 miles one-way) is a picture-perfect stretch of the Continental Divide trail that passes one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Glacier National Park. Catch the park shuttle at the St. Mary Visitor Center to the trailhead, and then return to the St. Mary Visitor Center on the paid shuttle from Many Glacier.
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