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CDT: Mexico Border to New Mexico State Highway 81 (NM Sec. 1)



26.2 mile 42.1 kilometer point to point
99% Runnable


Ascent: 1,554' 474 m
Descent: -1,471' -448 m
High: 5,269' 1,606 m
Low: 4,300' 1,311 m


Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 12% (7°)


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Trail shared by Guthrie Alexander


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A vast open desert trail with no naturally occurring water. Great views of the Big Hatchet Mountains

Guthrie Alexander

Features Wildflowers · Wildlife

The US Border Patrol requests that no vehicles are left at or near the southern terminus of the CDT.

Section Of

Runner Notes

Trail running is not recommended on this segment, as there is often no trail.


After a long, bumpy, and slow drive from the nearest paved road, a small shade structure and obelisk mark the beginning of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT) a 3,100 mile journey to the Canadian border.

There is not a visible trail for this entire section apart from the BLM roads that the route occasionally follows. As more runners use the CDT some tread has been beaten in, but for the most part, this section is all line of sight, navigated by tall poles with the CDT emblem on them. In the wilderness study area, the poles turn to high cairns and simple wooden posts with no markings, making navigation much more difficult.

The trail starts at the border and heads through open desert into Sheridan Canyon on the South Side of the Big Hatchets. The trail follows both roads and the wash through the canyon where it emerges at the first water cache box after about 13 miles. The next section moves into the lower slopes of the Big Hatchet Mountains and into the wilderness study area, where trail markings are not allowed. Pay attention to the wooden posts. The final section of this segment leaves those slopes and descends again into a scrub desert landscape, ending at NM Highway 81 and the second water cache box.

Flora & Fauna

Lots of diversity of desert plant species, especially in the Big Hatchet Wilderness Study area. In the spring time the Ocotillo cactus is in bloom. Hummingbirds wiz around from cactus flower to flower, Jack rabbits are abundant and mule deer can be found on the higher slopes of the Hatchets.

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Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 2 votes


in Mexico


  4.5 from 2 votes
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in Mexico


in Mexico


27 Views Last Month
1,039 Since Mar 17, 2016



Sunrise and blooming ocatillo.
Apr 26, 2016 near Guadalu…, MX
Vast open desert.
Apr 26, 2016 near Guadalu…, MX
Deep arroyo cuts.
Apr 26, 2016 near Guadalu…, MX
Large dead tree in the wash.
Apr 26, 2016 near Guadalu…, MX
Heading into the Hatchets.
Apr 26, 2016 near Guadalu…, MX
Desert flora is abundant from the Continental Divide Trail.
Mar 18, 2016 near Guadalu…, MX


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