Thru Hiking

Many hikers will claim that planning a GDT thru hike is harder than hiking the trail itself, and they aren’t completely wrong. The trail passes through five National Parks, eight Provincial Parks, two Special Management Areas, and host of other wildlands, wilderness areas, and forest districts. This, combined with the remoteness of much of the trail, introduces a lot of planning challenges. The GDT is not a thru hike you can just show up to and plan as you go. But don’t worry, the GDTA has a lot of resources to help you plan a successful thru hike.

IMPORTANT: We know that permits are the least pleasant part of the GDT experience. However, permits are necessary, and getting and keeping to your permits is important. Each hiker is an ambassador for the trail, and our actions make it easier or harder for next year’s hikers. So please, try to book permits for an itinerary you are likely to be able to keep to, and build in buffers to help you stick to it. Remember, the GDT exists only because of the goodwill of partners and the actions of those that hike it!

The Basics

The following resources will help you understand what’s involved in a hike along the Great Divide Trail.


The bulk of your questions, and the majority of your answers will be found in the following few pages related to the logistics of planning your trip.

The Sections of the GDT

The 1095 km of the Great Divide Trail are subdivided, from South to North, as Sections A through G. Hikers who choose not to complete the whole trail in one season will often complete one or more of these sections. The links below will take you to more details about each of these sections, including what to expect, and advice to help you plan your hike.

Other Resources

Finally, there are a lot of great external resources that will help you plan your hike. From Dustin Lynx’s Guidebook, to the FarOut App, to community content such as our social media spaces and hiker blogs.

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