Top Stops Along Wyoming's Continental Divide Trail

The Continental Divide Trail spans 3,100 miles from Canada to Mexico, crossing through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and parts of Idaho. Nearly 550 miles of this epic trail passes through Wyoming, leading distance and day-hikers alike through some of the most stunning parts of the state.

If you plan to tackle this trail, either in its entirety or through section hikes, be sure to spend some time in surrounding towns for a full Wyoming experience. We list some of the top stops along the Wyoming portion of the Continental Divide Trail.

Yellowstone National Park

The Continental Divide Trail takes hikers through Yellowstone National Park, but this national treasure is too big to enjoy from one trail. Take time to explore the geysers, mountains, waterfalls and wildlife within America’s first national park. If your schedule allows, travel 50 miles to Cody for a true western experience, including nightly rodeos and attractions like the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

Access the Trail: Find the Continental Divide Trail along the Howard Eaton Trail near Old Faithful.

National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center

Stop at the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center in Dubois to learn about this wild Wyoming resident you might see on the trail. The impressive interpretive center features interactive exhibits, life-size dioramas, a museum, educational films and more. Stick around Dubois to enjoy hiking, mountain biking and other outdoor activities along the Wind River and Absaroka mountains.

Access the Trail: Join the CDT in the Teton Wilderness via Brooks Lake Trailhead, which is 24 miles northwest of Dubois. Or hop on the trail in Shoshone National Forest via Sheridan Pass, located 16 miles north of Dubois.

Fuel up on Food: Nothing beats a good meal after time spent enjoying the outdoors. The Cowboy Café is a must-stop for buffalo burgers or a hearty, down-home breakfast. This café also well-known for its large selection of pies.

Fremont Lake

This 11-mile long lake near the CDT Gateway Community of Pinedale is the second largest natural lake in Wyoming. Fish, boat, swim or enjoy other water activities as you take in surrounding views of the Wind River Mountains. For a break from the outdoors, head into Pinedale and explore Museum of the Mountain Man. Here, you can learn about the trappers and fur traders that first settled in this area in the mid-1800s.

Access the Trail: To join the Continental Divide Trail, travel about 50 miles north of Pinedale to Green River Lakes Trailhead.

Fuel up on Food: Grab dinner and a beer at Wind River Brewing Company in Pinedale. Much more than a brewery, this local stop offers steaks, burgers and specialty salads in addition to its craft brews.

South Pass City State Historic Site

Take time to discover the history behind this Wyoming ghost town. In the late 1800s, South Pass City was booming with the success of the gold mining industry. Today, you can tour the historic site’s 24 restored buildings, pan for gold in Willow Creek and shop at the local General Store. Feeling rowdy? Get in touch with your inner cowboy by shooting pool while sipping on a cold glass of sarsaparilla. The Continental Divide Trail travels through South Pass City, so you won’t have to go out of your way to learn about gold mining in the west.

South Pass City Carissa MinePhoto Credit: Kelsey Bang

Access the Trail: You can hop on and off the Continental Divide Trail right in South Pass City. If you take the CDT south from this state historic site, you will cross routes used by emigrants on the Oregon, California, Mormon and Pony Express trails in the 19th century.

Wyoming Frontier Prison

Visit Wyoming’s first state penitentiary, which held over 13,000 prisoners during its use from 1901 through 1981. The prison offers guided tours, sharing gruesome information about execution methods used and the history behind various goods produced by prisoners to meet the needs of the country. In addition to the prison, visitors can explore the museum and gift shop associated with this historic western building. The Wyoming Frontier Prison is located in the CDT Gateway Community of Rawlins.

Access the Trail: The Continental Divide Trail Passes directly through Rawlins along motorized routes north and south of town. You can join the trail from Rawlins Spring Park, Rawlins Family Recreation Center or at Bolton Park.

Fuel Up on Food: Satisfy the cravings of every hiker in your crew at Buck’s Sports Grill in Rawlins. This local eatery offers a variety of smothered hot dogs, butter burgers, personal pizzas, steaks and other mouth-watering entrees sure to appease your appetite. Top off your meal with an ice cream sundae for the ultimate off-trail treat.

Saratoga Hot Springs

Stop in Saratoga for a well-deserved soak after time on the trail. You can choose between small, teepee-covered pools or a large pool filled with natural mineral water at Saratoga Hot Springs Resort. While you’re there, grab a beer at the resort’s Snowy Mountain Brewery or have dinner at Silver Saddle Restaurant. If you prefer a more rustic hot springs experience, relax in Saratoga’s free Hobo Hot Springs. Here, you can enjoy small, natural pools along the North Platte River or choose from a few larger pools in the bath house.

While in the area, stop at Encampment’s Grand Encampment Museum. Take a tour to see how locals thrived off copper mining, ranching and the timber industry in this part of Wyoming. This interactive museum features 15 historic buildings to help you discover what life was like in the west at the turn of the 20th century.

Access the Trail: Travel about 30 miles southwest of Saratoga to join the Continental Divide Trail at Deep Jack Trailhead. This trail is located along Forest Road 830, about five miles south of Jack Creek Campground.

Fuel Up on Food: Head to Bear Trap Café and Bar between Riverside and Encampment for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This log cabin-style restaurant featuring pool and darts is known for their burgers. Ask about their modest motel accommodations if you’re looking for a shower and a night out of the elements.