- The CDNST is a trail system composed of existing trails and new connecting routes. This part of the CDNST uses about 52 miles of existing trails and 30 miles of connecting routes. Most of the trail is marked with CDNST symbols. In the higher elevations where there is no path, a tread has been marked with rock cairns. All of this segment of the CDNST lies above 8,000 feet and parts of it exist above 13,000 feet. Most of the CDNST in this area is considered to be difficult hiking.
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Shadow Mountain Lake
Early summer travel through this alpine area may require cross-country mountaineering equipment. Rugged steep ridges and miles of exposed tundra are common along the route. Lush spruce-fir vegetation is found west of the Continental Divide from 8,000 to 11,000 feet. Tundra is found from 11,000 - 13,000 feet. The Krummholtz (stunted trees)and alpine tundra above tree line, are highly sensitive to disturbance. Please avoid campfires in these areas. Mosquitos and ticks may be bothersome in forested areas in the early summer. Deer, elk, moose, porcupine and bear might be seen. Please do not harass or feed the wildlife. This part of the Continental Divide trail crosses Rollin's Pass (Moffat Hill Route) and follows the abandoned Denver and Salt Lake Railroad grade. Several old trestles, tunnels, game runs and the Corona Hotel site are in this area.
Recreation - The Continental Divide Trail lends itself well to hiking and backpacking. Horseback riding and mountain biking on the trail is not appropriate for all segments, so consult a guide book or National Forest office for specific information.
Climate - Summer weather brings frequent thunderstorms accompanied with hail and high winds. Electrical storm activity is a special consideration along this route, due to high elevations and exposure on the trail. Retreat from exposed tundra and talus slopes to tree line protection when lightning activity is expected. Daytime high temperatures average 60 degrees Fahrenheit, with lows occasionally below freezing.
Autumn brings stable weather with clear, cool days that are common from early September to late October. Expect freezing temperatures at night and snow is possible. Early autumn is a great time for travel in this area. The aspen leaves add drama to any scenery and begin to turn golden during the last weeks of September.
Winter weather brings storm systems from the northwest. They can start in early November, depositing large amounts of snow on leeward sides of mountain ridges. Tundra areas are windswept of any snow; wind exposure is extreme. Winter weather continues on these high slopes until early June. Low temperatures are often below zero with wind chill factors of minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. Snowfall averages over 100 inches.
In 1989, the Sulphur Ranger District completed construction of the East Grand County segment of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDNST). This guide covers the portion of the CDNST on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Rocky Mountain National Park. It includes a distance of 82 miles, from Willow Creek Pass in the north to Jones Pass in the south.