Sleep In The Dirt

Section 13:

Berthoud Pass to Rainbow Road

What We Found

The content below contains general information about Big Agnes staff experience while traveling along the CDT through Colorado in the summer of 2018. While we have made an effort to provide you with a valuable trip-planning tool, we cannot offer any assurance that this information is current, complete or even accurate – if you choose to travel this route, do so at your own risk. Fantastic day hike, or connect with sections 12 or 14 for a multi-day backpacking trip. Enjoy the views while climbing up Mount Flora, then relax on a long descent to Rainbow Road.

  • distance
    9.5 miles
  • elevation gain
    2,120 feet
  • elevation loss
    3,268 feet
  • highest point
    13,140 feet
  • wilderness area
    Yes
  • percent on trail
    100%

The majority of this section is above tree line, with its highest point peaking above 13,000 ft. Water sources are scarce during the first six or seven miles so be prepared to carry your own and because of the high altitude and arid climate, you will definitely need it. Navigating this sections of the CDT is fairly easy as the trail is quite obvious, moving down a the scree and boulder filed as the trail begins to descend is not only precarious, but attention to carefully placed cairns is a must. Trekking poles and acute alertness are a must. There’s a strong flowing stream located before the trail begins to gently ascend again and resupplying here will easily get the hiker to the end point. Back into an alpine forest. A very steep somewhat technical descent brings the hiker to the end point of this section where they will be happy to follow a dirt road to a beautiful creek, cold enough and deep enough to submerse yourself into and bring your tired body back to life. On Trail: July 28th - 29th, 2018

Kellie Nelson, Dealer Services Rep, Big Agnes
Learn more about the hike

Our Itinerary

Southern Access Point:

Berthoud Pass (CO Hwy. 40) Ley Maps CO 14

Northern Access Point:

Rainbow Road Ley Maps CO 14

Wilderness Area:

Yes

What We Experienced:

The trail in this section sits along a cliff and required a little bit of scrambling.

There isn’t too much water availability on this trail, so be sure to top-off your water at every opportunity.

Additional Resources: 

Leave No Trace Principles

Guthook Guide – Continental Divide Trail

U.S. Forest Service – Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest

Our Route

Ascent:
2,120 feet

Descent:
3,268 feet

Grade per Mile:
566 feet

Pro tips:

Be ready to scramble a little bit of scree (loose rocks).

Pack wind/rain gear, this section is pretty exposed but has very little blow down.

Continue to Lake Granby for an extended multi-day backpacking trip!

Skills We Needed

• Rock Scrambling
• Lightning Safety
• Map Navigation
• LNT Ethics

* This site and routes described within contain general information about Big Agnes staff adventures in the backcountry, summer 2018. While we have made an effort to provide you with a valuable trip-planning tool, we cannot offer any assurance that this information is current, complete or even accurate – if you choose to travel these routes, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check local weather, trail conditions, closures, legal access points, Forest Service, BLM, or National Park rules and regulations, and other risks involved. We hope to inspire responsible backcountry and public land use, but by using our website you agree to use this information at your own risk.