CDT: Many Glacier Hotel to Border Monument Terminus

Glacier National Park (USA)

The classic finish to the CDT at the Border Monument on Waterton Lake.

Also in Alberta, Canada

Hiking Difficult

Distance
56 km
Ascent
2.1 km
Descent
2.3 km
Duration
1 day +
Low Point
1.3 km
High Point
2.3 km
Gradient
17˚
CDT: Many Glacier Hotel to Border Monument Terminus Map

Forming the Triple Crown of Hiking in the United States, the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail are all epic endeavors that take years to plan and prepare for. On top of the extensive gear list needed to successfully complete a thru-hike, arriving at a trail's start or finish is often one of the most under-appreciated tasks for those new to the challenge.

Description

And the CDT is no different. Its southern terminal requires hiring a shuttle to arrive at the Crazy Cook Monument, a remote landmark along the US/Mexico Border. In contrast, thru-hikers have two options to finish the trail at the US/Canada Border. Seen here, the Waterton Route follows Swiftcurrent Pass to the infamously stunning Highline Trail before joining the Waterton Valley Trail. Following the basin northbound, you'll arrive at the northern terminus at a monument "celebrating the longstanding peace and friendship between our two nations", the CDT Coalition explains.

Snow, wildfires, and trail closures are all variables to consider when choosing this finish to the CDT over others. A popular trail alternative that follows lower elevations to the Chief Mountain Highway can be seen here, while a simple road walk is another option if weather becomes a hazard. Importantly, this route also ends with a brief 4.2-mile walk to Waterton Park in Canada, where you would then have to arrange transport back to the US if that if your ultimate destination. Passports and other international travel considerations would need to be factored in.

As with all of Glacier National Park, pets are prohibited on all trails in the backcountry and wildlife is often present. Grizzlies, in particular, pose the most threat to hikers, and bear-proof canisters are required for camping in the backcountry. Bear spray also comes highly recommended, though the more popular trails tend to lead to fewer sightings.

Sources: https://continentaldividetrail.org/project/northern-terminus-of-the-continental-divide-trail-glacier-national-park/ https://thetrek.co/continental-divide-trail/10-things-2020-cdt-hikers-need-know/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ContinentalDivideTrail

Difficulty

Difficult

Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

May, June, July, August, September

Features

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

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area