Hit the Trail on America’s Most Underrated Thru-Hike

You can be a part of putting signs up along the Continental Divide Trail.

Continental Divide Trail
The Continental Divide Trail is getting permanent markers added to it. (Flickr)

Want to be a part of history? You can help put signs up along America’s most underrated (but perhaps most beautiful) thru-hike. The Continental Divide Trail is 3,100-miles and runs from Mexico to Canada. It is younger than the Appalachian or Pacific Crest Trails and offers a different experience: You get to pass through some of America’s best scenery, like Carson National Forest, Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Glacier National Park. And then, of course, you cross the divide itself. According to Outside, there are places along the trail where you can watch as two watersheds slope downward, one heading towards the Pacific Ocean and the others toward the Atlantic.

The issue with the Continental Divide Trail is the signs — there are too many in some places, too few in others and long stretches that just have no signs anywhere. Teresa Martinez, the executive director of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC), a Colorado-based nonprofit that supports the many volunteers and agencies that manage the CDT, proposed a push to put new markers along the entire trail by the end of 2018, which will mark the 40th anniversary of the CDT’s designation as a National Scenic Trail. This summer, the trail is finally getting blazed. The trails see about one-third as many hikers at the AT or PCT, but perhaps the trail is incredibly remote and taxing. The CDT stays above 10,000 feet for basically all of Colorado; in comparison, the PCT has just a handful of passes that are that high. But thanks to funding from the Forest Service, REI, Osprey, and PPM, a printing company based in California, the CDTC hopes to put up about 10,000 signs along the trail which will help people feel safer on the trails.

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