CDT: Mexico Border to New Mexico State Highway 81 (NM Sec. 1)
ElevationAscent: 1,554' 474 m
Descent: -1,471' -448 m
High: 5,269' 1,606 m
Low: 4,300' 1,311 m
GradeAvg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 12% (7°)
Current trail conditions
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“A vast open desert trail with no naturally occurring water. Great views of the Big Hatchet Mountains”— Guthrie Alexander
There is not a visible trail for this entire section apart from the BLM roads that the route occasionally follows. As more hikers 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.
Local Club: Continental Divide Trail Coalition
Jun 19, 2019: The Continental Divide Story, 1977
May 16, 2019: Oh, SNOW! How to Travel Safely on the CDT in Spring
May 10, 2019: Connecting Local Communities to the CDT
Land Manager: BLM New Mexico - Las Cruces District Office