North America Continental Divide Trail

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North American Divide Trails

(Name of this web page needs changing to reflect the different trail name in Canada at this time.)

Work in Progress. (March 2018) All States done. Working on Canada and alternate routes.

In the U.S. the Continental Divide Trail Coalition Is at this time the primary source for "official" trail designations.

In Canada the primary source is the Great Divide Trail Association

Alternate resources in the U.S. include:

Jonathan Ley and Bear Creek Survey

Ref:xref is the current cross reference reference. Old references subsumed under the the new reference are: ref:bcs and ref:ley and ref:cdtc refer to maps and segments of Jonathan Ley and Bear Creek Survey and Continental Divide Trail Coalition.

Why the odd naming convention in the currently mapped states and provinces at the moment?


Q: There are a set of "regional" trails called like CDT x-- in New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Idaho which appear to be essentially the Continental Divide Trail. It has segments with a funny three letter combinations in the name. What is that about?

A: So as to have the list of segments of the trail fall in geographical (north to south) order and they need to be in alphabetical order so each segment is named e.g. CDT jkc.

Q: Ok the CDT part makes sense but the jkc?

A: The jkc is just meant to keep all segments in both alphabetical and geographical order in lists of segments.

Q: Yeah, you said that already. So on looking at other segments there is a "CDT j-- New Mexico." What's the "j" about.

A: "j" is just for New Mexico. "f" is Montana; "g" Idaho; "h" Wyoming; "i" Colorado and "j" New Mexico.

Q: You keep repeating yourself. You said "j" is for New Mexico, now twice already. Why "j"?

A: Well the continental divide exists in other countries besides the U.S. Indeed there are many different types of continental divides in North America besides the Atlantic/Pacific one. But that's another discussion. For now just know that "a" could be Alaska and "b, c, d, or e" could be for Canadian provinces. Indeed "n" through "z" could be for South America. But lets not get ahead of ourselves. It's just a naming convention. No biggie.

Q: OK then what about the "kc"?

A: Think of it this way: the "c" part is for a segment many could walk in a day. The "k" part is for a segment many could walk in a week. While the "j" part, for New Mexico for instance, could be a distance many could walk in a month. The CDT is a long distance thru-hiking trail after all, often done within the three seasons of three season hiking.

Q: So is that why the Grants to Pie Town segment is called "CDT jk- Grants to Pie Town" with just two letters "jk"?

A: Yes.

Q: OK, all well and good so far. But I notice there are gaps in the existing three letter combinations. For instance why are the two daily, if we may, preceding segments before jkc, jhk and jho.

A: The trail is both evolving and being filled in where it is incomplete and in addition supports many alternate routes other than the official Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDNST). The gaps allow new segments to be assigned as needed. Of course one could add suffixes after the three letter codes and get the same effect, Yes?

Q: Yes. So why didn't you?

A. I don't know. Less is more, I guess.