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Continental Divide National Scenic Trail

Facilities | Location/Access | Hazards/Challenges | Other Information | NM's Legacy | Volunteer


Trail users are responsible for providing their own water. Do not expect to find potable water along the trail. Do not rely on hearsay for potential water locations. Stashing water is strongly encouraged, especially in desert areas. Water stash boxes have been installed in discrete locations for your use. Click here for water stash box locations.

Please take empty containers and all trash with you.

Many wells and water facilities are owned by ranchers and they are responsible for maintenance of all of the facilities, regardless of ownership.  They are under no obligation to supply water to trail users.

Be twice as prepared as you think you should be.

The Continental  Divide National Scenic Trail provides for high quality, scenic, primitive hiking and horseback-riding recreational experiences, while conserving natural, historic, and cultural resources along the Continental Divide. Extending  3100 miles between Mexico and Canada, the trail traverses landscapes primarily on public lands within 50 miles of the geographic feature. This National Scenic Trail was established in 1978 through the authority of the National Trails System Act  (P.L. 90-543) and is one of the outstanding resources of the National Landscape Conservation System. 

Where the Trail crosses BLM lands in New Mexico the route does not ordinarily have a tread. Except where it follows ranch roads, the Trail is identified with line of sight signs or rock cairns. Equestrian facilities are intermittent and in various stages of development.


No facilities as yet have been generated specifically for the Trail. Due to the remote nature of the Trail, thorough preplanning for resupply is necessary.

Please practice Leave No Trace principles. Pack out all trash.

Camping on State land is allowed only with a permit and on private lands is prohibited. Trail users are made aware of these areas with boundary signs. In mixed ownership regions the Trail crosses federally managed public land intentionally to afford camping opportunities.

In most regions State Law and BLM regulations prohibit camping within 300 yards of a water source.  These restrictions ensure habitual access for wildlife and livestock, as well as water quality. Please do not bathe in water tanks.

Cell phone coverage is minimal to non-existent.

Terrain and lack of water make it difficult for hiking with dogs.  Dog owners should be responsible to ensure dogs don’t harass wildlife or livestock.


Location / Access
Because Trail location, use, and condition status across the state are managed by the unique agency office associated with that area, users are encouraged to contact every pertinent office for Trail updates, especially when crossing Wilderness or Wilderness Study Areas.

From this website you can access office contact information, a link to fire restriction information, and maps for official Trail segments on BLM lands.

Close all gates unless otherwise officially posted.


Hazards / Challenges
Trail users are cautioned to expect encounters with rattlesnakes, and be mindful of the presence of wolves and bears.

In the southern segments especially there is a possibility of encounters with undocumented aliens and drug runners. While the US Border Patrol is familiar with the Trail route and water cache locations, Trail users should be prepared to provide identification.

  • Do not leave vehicles at the Mexican border.
  • Lock your vehicle, storing valuables and WATER out of sight.
  • For safety reasons especially, please sign in and out at trailhead registers. 

Shared use of these public lands includes ranching and mining.

  • Water is life and blood in this area. Do not adjust or tamper with water facilities.
  • Do not trespass on private property by approaching ranch houses. Avoid land indicated in white on the land status maps unless trail signs lead you there (indicating an approved easement).
  • While the Trail has been located to avoid open mine shafts, these hazards exist regionally and are not always apparent.


Other Information Sources
Many publications exist presently which offer guidance to trail location and resources, including BLM maps published previous to this website. Only those offered through this website identify the official Trail route in those regions. It is well documented that other maps have led to hikers becoming lost, in danger of dehydration and to unwelcome encounters with local residents.


New Mexico’s Legacy
Our state is unique and exemplary in its cooperative partnering for completion and management of the Trail. Many miles of the Trail cross private lands, made available through the generosity of private owners and community interests.  Our formal partnerships include New Mexico State Parks, New Mexico State Land Office, U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, and the Pueblo of Acoma. We are also grateful for the partnership efforts of the Continental Divide Trail Society, Backcountry HorsemenNew Mexico Mountain Club, the Nacimiento Medical Foundation, and other independent advocates.  


To be a Volunteer on the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail
Please contact your local Bureau of Land Management Office.

Continental Divide National Scenic Trail

Photo Gallery (Socorro Area)

Hiking/Backpacking Camping Watchable Wildlife Nature Study Area


Open year-round. Spring is the best season for northbound travelers, while early fall is best for those entering from the north and heading south.

Fire Information

Recreation Guidelines
BLM Recreation Guidelines


For more information, contact:

Trail Administrator

Bureau of Land Management
New Mexico State Office
Terry Heslin
P.O. Box 27115
Santa Fe, NM 87502-0115
(505) 954-2184

Click here for Maps and Contact Information

Overview Map of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail