There’s a string of mountains that rise gradually from
Wyoming’s barren Great Divide Basin in the southcentral part of the state and
head northwest up into Grand Teton National Park and then Yellowstone National
For much of the way, the Continental Divide is the spine of
this range of mountains, where you’ll find towering peaks, gnarly cliffs,
rugged rock faces, forested hillsides and deep canyons with rushing waters.
This is the Wind
Waters from the east side of the Wind Rivers flows to the Mississippi River
while waters from the west flow to the Columbia
It’s also home to one of the most ambitious groomed trail
systems in the United States—the
Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail.
And its one heckuva place to ride.
The variety alone is almost mesmerizing. If you simply ride
from one end of the 608-mile system to the other, that’s a worth goal. But if
you do choose that route, you’ll be missing much of what the CDST has to offer.
Just imagine the topography of the Wind Rivers between Point A and Point
B—everything and more a sledder would want.
There are some sledders who ride one part of the CDST and
never see it all. And they’re happy and content about that because of the great
riding areas such as Togwotee or Dubois or north of Pinedale. Certainly it
would take weeks but more like months and even years to explore the entire
length of the CDST in the Wind Rivers. There’s a lot of territory in there.
The CDST has flexed its muscle in the Top 15 Trails in the
West for many years and has been in the top five for most of the time SnoWest has been conducting the reader
survey. The CDST again finds itself at No. 2 after knocking West
Yellowstone out of the No. 1 two years ago. And although SnoWest Magazine’s survey focuses on the
West, we think the CDST would be in the top five of any system in the snowbelt.
It’s big. It’s bold. It’s a blast.
The system begins (or ends, depending on where you start) in
Lander, weaves its way through western Wyoming
to Togwotee and on to Grand Teton
National Park. The state
has gone to a lot of work to mark and groom the trail so sledders have an idea
where they are all the time. Making the options even more appealing is the
fact, for the most part, there are services spaced all along the trail so that,
if you do some planning, you’ll have a hot meal when you want to, a chance to
buy gas and places to lay your head at night.
The sheer size of the CDST means there is every kind of
riding available for every skill level. You can tackle part of the CDST one
weekend, move on to another section the next week and so forth. Yea, it will
fill up your winter.
The CDST is long on trails but not short on looks. Some of Wyoming’s (or the entire
West, for that matter) most impressive views come along the CDST. It’s hard to
beat riding with views of the Tetons or the snow laden Wind
River Range as your backdrop. Grand
Teton National Park
is high on the list when it comes to awesome views, mostly because of the