FATMAP by Strava

CDT: Rogers Pass (MT-200) to Benchmark Wilderness Ranch

A scenic and especially remote traverse through wild Montana wilderness ending at the Benchmark Wilderness Ranch.

Hiking Severe

91 km
3.4 km
3.5 km
1 day +
Low Point
1.6 km
High Point
2.5 km
CDT: Rogers Pass (MT-200) to Benchmark Wilderness Ranch Map

Of the entire 3,100-mile CDT, the next two segments of the trail are arguably the most challenging and remote areas you will encounter. This is part one of a 175+ mile traverse that you do not want to underestimate. 56+ miles of remote terrain, high mountain peaks, and frequent water sources connect the prominent trailhead at Rogers Pass (MT-200) to the remote Benchmark Wilderness Ranch, but there are no other access points along the way.


For thru-hikers, Rogers Pass is situated just east of Lincoln, one of the trail's many Gateway Communities. Inhabited by Native Americans for upwards of 10,000 years, the nearby Blackfoot River literally translates to "river of the road to the buffalo," in the native Nez Perce language. Highway 200 from Rogers Pass to Lincoln also follows the historic route used by Merriweather Lewis on an expedition in the early 1800s. Much of the roadway follows the original path to this day. Though the most recent mining boom ended in the 1970s, Lincoln continues to attract tourists year after year.

As some of the most remote country the trail will traverse, water does tend to be available in steady increments. Piped springs are also noted along the way, and some water crossings may require thigh-deep fords, this source notes. The rising afternoon temperatures also yield an abundance of storms, so be especially mindful of your elevation if you see thunderheads rolling in from a distance.

As the area sees very little disturbance, wildlife sightings are rather common, and the area is popularly known for its big game hunting. Moose, deer, bear, elk, and just about every other large game animal call the area home through different times of the year. However, be especially mindful of the numerous game trails that could make portions of the CDT difficult to navigate at times.

For thru-hikers, the Benchmark Wilderness Ranch comes as a welcoming sight, even though the trail has been loaded with endless views thus far. Of the services the ranch offers, hikers often mail a 1 cubic foot box ahead to the ranch in preparation for their arrival. The box then arrives in town, and a private van shuttles the packages to the ranch, where they are stored in bear-proof boxes on the lodge porch.

Hikers are also given the option to rent a cabin for the night or pitch a tent with an included shower. Shuttles are available to Augusta, MT, and various guided backcountry adventures are offered throughout the summer months. A comprehensive list of services and amenities can be found here.

Sources: http://www.benchmarkwildernessranch.com/Rates.html http://www.hikethedivide.com/follow-the-journey/2016/7/31/benchmark-to-rogers-pass-over-300-miles-down



Hiking challenging trails where simple scrambling, with the occasional use of the hands, is a distinct possibility. The trails are often filled with all manner of obstacles both small and large, and the hills are very steep. Obstacles and challenges are often unexpected and can be unpredictable.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

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


4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

between May and October


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

Guidebooks in this area