CDT: Border Monument Terminus to Waterton Park

Glacier National Park (USA)

A classic finish to the CDT that ends at Waterton Park in Canada.

Hiking Moderate

Distance
6.5 km
Ascent
251 m
Descent
245 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
1.3 km
High Point
1.4 km
Gradient
CDT: Border Monument Terminus to Waterton Park Map

If you're wrapping up the traditional finish to the 3,300-mile CDT, then you're faced with two options when you arrive at the Border Monument Terminus on Waterton Lake. Either turn back, and retrace your steps 35-miles to Many Glacier Hotel, or continue north 4-miles into Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. These final few miles lead into Canada to a site that earned its designation in 1932 when both countries chose to celebrate "the longstanding peace and friendship" between our two nations, the CDT Coalition notes.

Description

Given its ease, the obvious choice for most is to continue north into Canada. That, however, brings about a few other logistical details that you must consider. For instance, if you have someone coming to pick you up, a passport will be required to gain entry into Canada and to enter the park. The same is true for hikers, and any number of variables can cause closures at the border. In fact, during the Covid-19 pandemic, this particular section of trail was closed to international travelers, requiring hikers to opt for alternative routes, such as this one that ends just south of the Canadian border.

When deciding how to complete your thru-hike, snow, wildfires, and trail closures are all variables to consider. Wildlife encounters are also not unheard of, though well-traveled trails tend to lead to fewer sightings. Some thru-hikers even opt for a road walk from Many Glacier Hotel to the border if snow hits earlier than expected. And, as with all of Glacier National Park, pets are prohibited on trails - so plan to leave your 4-legged friend at home even if you're just out for a day hike.

Sources: https://continentaldividetrail.org/project/northern-terminus-of-the-continental-divide-trail-glacier-national-park/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ContinentalDivideTrail

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

May, June, July, August, September

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Guidebooks in this area