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Home > Trip Planning > Water Sources Plus Resources Including Databook

Water Sources Plus Resources Including Databook

water stop along the CTFOf utmost importance, including to stay hydrated, Colorado Trail travelers focus on water sources and how many miles it is to where they can next replenish. The official CT Guidebook and Databook include this information. They cover the known water sources and present a mile point for each. The Databook is particularly helpful, as it gives a symbol for each water source (full cup, half cup or empty cup) that indicates how reliable (or seasonal) each source is. These books are available in stores including REI, as well as directly from the CT Foundation here:

CT Databook Via The CT Online Store

In 2016 additional data was collected for water sources and quite a few surfaced that don't show in the 6th Edition, CT Databook. The link below is a 2-page, printable PDF list of additional water sources that will be of particular interest to users of Databook 6 and even Guidebook 9.

Water Source Additions to Databook 6

Another resource that highlights water sources along the CT is the smartphone app, "The Colorado Trail Hiker." Users often refer to this app as "Guthooks," the name of one of the app's producers. Great care has gone into its development and keeping it up to date. App users will find excellent water source info in this handy, on-screen publication, and can even access reports made by other users, including some reports made in recent hours and days. The app is available for both iPhone and Android, via the following links.

There are additional resources as well. The "CT Map Book" and "CT Collegiate Loop Map Book" are topo maps with a highly precise Colorado Trail line. Waypoints show along the way, including points for all the water sources. These map books are for sale only at the CT Online Store. The Map Book waypoints in electronic format are made available to download for free. Links for these resources appear below.

Water is abundant along most of the CT. However, there are some lengthy dry stretches, particularly in Segment 2-3 (14 miles), Segments 18-19 (11 miles), and Segments 26-27 (22 miles).

Seg 2-3 dry stretch: There's usually no creek water between Seg 2 mi 0.0 and Seg 3 mi 2.8, a distance of 14.3 miles.  However, there is a key water source very close to the trail, a fresh water, outdoor spigot. Users will find it on the Firehouse NW of CT Seg 2 mile 10.1, a blonde-colored metal building maybe 200 yards NW of, and visible from the trail.  The spigot is on the NE corner of the main, biggest building.  The volunteer firemen are not always inside.  But they are upbeat about you using their spigot to get water, because they'd much rather you stay hydrated than to have to rescue dehydrated folks from along the trail.

Seg 18-19 dry stretch: In the relatively dry Cochetopa Hills, there are a number of unreliable water sources that typically dry up sometime during The Colorado Trail season from July through September. The longest water-iffy stretch is usually from Seg 18 mi 9.7 Los Creek to Seg 19 mi 7.0 Cochetopa Creek, a distance of 11.1 miles. While there are a couple of possible sources in this stretch, they are unreliable.

Seg 26-27 dry stretch: Often dry of on-trail water is Seg 26 mi 8.4 Straight Creek to Seg 27 mi 19.4 Taylor Lake, a distance of about 22 miles.  We definitely recommend you 'camel up' at your approach end, Straight Creek if your Southbound, preparing to carry lots of water and possibly as much capacity as you've got.  The CT Databook lists some mid-stretch, additional, possible water sources that include off-trail and seasonal seeps that might be helpful.

Relative to treating water, we offer this one tip from a most experienced CT user: Per "Bearcreek" in 4/2015, "I prefer using a filter because you can stop at a water source and camel up on water without waiting the 20-30 minutes for chemicals to work. The CT has some of the best tasting, clear, and cold water you will find. I used a Sawyer Squeeze for a couple of years and liked it, but after awhile found it hard to use. I now use a Platypus Gravity filter, which weighs only slightly more, and can be set up to work exactly like a Sawyer. It has worked flawlessly, and I highly recommend it."