18 Trail Towns
Along the Oregon Desert Trail

Jim Davis

voices

Ryan “Dirtmonger” Sylva, ODT thru-hiker 2017

Ryan “Dirtmonger” Sylva, ODT thru-hiker 2017

“To me, it’s a thru-hike in an isolated place that promotes a conversation in land management, ethics and usage. Hiking across a vast and remote landscape and having a random and chance encounter with cowboys and hunters to discuss how ‘all of us’ should treat the land, how we all have a responsibility, no matter our political leanings, really showed me the pulse of the people in rural areas, especially here out west.”

voices

John Cunningham, ONDA member and volunteer

John Cunningham, ONDA member and volunteer

Restoration is hard slow work. It takes hold, or it doesn’t, in fits and starts. The immensity of the need can be discouraging, but we must carry on. I am so thankful ONDA carries on.

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Connecting Trails

Connecting Trails

The Oregon Desert Trail ties into two National Recreation Trails: the Fremont National Recreation Trail and Desert Trail.

Below find a few businesses, attractions, or highlights in each of the Oregon Desert Trail’s four regions:

Pine Mountain Observatory - At the top of Pine Mountain (ODT mile 27.2) find a University of Oregon facility for astronomy education and research. The observatory has three Cassegrain-reflecting telescopes and is open to the public on dark sky weekends from late May through the last weekend of September, weather permitting (note: check the website for updates on 2021 opening)

Sid's Produce - Your source for fresh produce in Christmas Valley (CV Alternate mile 84.3). Fresh fruits and veggies are a hiker's delight; stock up on a wide array of the kinds of foods you might not throw in your pack, but dream about during those hot desert days.

Summer Lake Hot Springs - You won't want to miss this wonderful oasis (6 miles north of ODT mile 160.5). Rent a cabin and enjoy the radiant floor heating, tent on the lawn and soak in the historic bath house, or just come for the day and soak the soreness of the trail away with a breathtaking view of Winter Rim.

Pioneer Saloon & Restaurant - Grab a burger, beer or pizza and marvel at the history of the place (ODT mile 160.5). Fun fact: the tavern hosts a beautiful Brunswick bar, made in Boston in 1905 and shipped around the tip of South America to Portland where it made its way to Arlington and then traveled south to Paisley by a six-horse freight team in 1906.

Tall Town Bike & Camp - This store has become an essential stop in Lakeview (9 miles south of ODT mile 208). Find new or rental gear, camping supplies, fuel, backpacking food, and even Sawyer Mini filters (a thru-hiker favorite). Owner Thom is a great ODT supporter and offers rides to Cox Creek Rd. or the Mill Trailhead and just asks for donations towards gas. *ODT trail register here

Campbell Cove Lanes - Couches, free wifi, beer, pizza, and bowling oh my! We don't blame you if you end up spending all day here before hiking out into the Warner Mountains.

Back of Beyond House Rental - Cam & Christine Newton offer a couple of cozy cabins you can rent in a wonderful aspen and ponderosa grove...right off the Lakeview Alternate route.

Hart Mountain Store - This is your one-stop-shop in Plush (1 mile south of ODT mile 265.8). The Hart Mountain Store is your restaurant, bar, store (limited resupply options), post office, gas station, and hub of activity at the base of Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge.

Steens Mountain Brewing Company - Harney County's craft brewery offers a selection of their own tasty beverages along with a mouth-watering menu...including vegetarian options. You won't want to miss this stop in Burns (60 miles north of ODT mile 374.2) as you travel to or from the Steens Mountain Wilderness or Alvord Desert.

Steens Mountain Wilderness Resort - Perched above Page Springs Campground and the Donner und Blitzen Wild and Scenic River, the Steens Mountain Wilderness Resort (ODT mile 377) offers cabins, tenting, and RV spots (and wifi for overnight guests). The small store carries a few personal items and snacks; Even better? Hikers can send a resupply package here.

Fields Station - Don't miss a chance to try one of the famous milkshakes or burgers when you finish walking across the Alvord Desert. The Fields Station (ODT mile 438.4) carries enough supplies for a basic resupply stop, has beer on tap, and a few rooms to rest your head (camping is free!).

Denio Junction - When hikers emerge from traversing the rugged and awe-inspiring Pueblo Mountains, Denio Junction (3.5 miles south of ODT mile 467) beckons. Find a restaurant, bar, gas station, and hotel with laundry (washing machines are in short supply along the ODT, so don't let this one pass!) at this hospitable trail town.

Quinn River Merc/Chevron - This small Nevada town is a hop, skip, and a jump from the Oregon border, and directly along the McDermitt Alternate (9 miles south of the main ODT at mile 538.9). Fuel up before the long push through the Owyhee region at the Quinn River Merc. A full resupply is possible, and the deli has some of the best Basque chorizo around (a vestige of the Basque sheepherders that came to the region in the late 1880's).

Rome Station - Over 100 miles from the last stop of McDermitt, hikers will stumble deliriously into Rome Station (ODT mile 660.8) for a meal (or five), a cozy bed in the cabins, or a tent spot on the lawn. A small store offers limited supplies, beer, and wifi. If you called to arrange sending a resupply box, you can rest easy and prop your feet up for some well-deserved rest.

Lake Owyhee State Park - A small rock jetty just off of Indian Springs Campground in Lake Owyhee State Park (ODT mile 751.5) marks the end (or beginning) of the Oregon Desert Trail. This state park hosts a few campgrounds with showers, electricity, and boat launches. Marvel at the views of the Owyhee geology and pat yourself on the back for making it this far!

Friends of the Owyhee - Friends of the Owyhee (FOTO) is a nonprofit organization focused on conservation advocacy, stewardship, and responsible recreation in the Owyhee region...and they want to be your trail angels! Do you need a ride to or from the trail? Help placing a water cache? Need info about the region? FOTO is there to assist.

18 Trail Towns
Along the Oregon Desert Trail

Author: Renee Patrick  | Updated: August 24, 2021  |  Category: Where-To Curious about where to find a shower, meal, or museum while you are exploring the high desert? The extensive Town & Services Guide was created to help hikers find the businesses and services they need in the 18 different communities along or near...

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21 Day Hikes
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Author: Renee Patrick  | Updated: August 17, 2021  |  Category: Where-to Intrigued by the Oregon Desert Trail but don’t have the time or inclination to hike all 750 miles? These day hike options provide excellent opportunities to sample short sections of the full route. Refer to each section to in the Oregon Desert Trail...

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Along the Oregon Desert Trail

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Author: Renee Patrick  | Published: August 12, 2021  |  Category: How-to The Alvord Desert Wilderness Study Area is an iconic attraction in Oregon’s high desert. The 50-mile long Steens Mountain creates a rain shadow for this 35+ square mile desert wonder, and increasingly people from all over Oregon (and the world) have discovered the...

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Please use caution with any Oregon Desert Trail plans due to COVID 19.  Last updated on February 1, 2021. Oregon cases of COVID-19 are still high in 2021, and even though vaccines are making their way to our communities, we continue to advise everyone to follow the state’s guidelines, which include wearing a mask...

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Earlier this year, we highlighted Ten Superlative ONDA Volunteers. While it’s National Volunteer Week, we’d like to introduce you to fifteen more unique and highly dedicated members of ONDA’s desert conservation community.  Hopefully these stories will make for good conversation starters, should you meet one of these desert champions at an ONDA event, on...

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If you have been following the development of the Oregon Desert Trail (ODT) over the past few years, you are probably aware that one of its primary goals is to engage the recreation community in conservation issues across the high desert. An excellent example of how the ODT has helped harness the passion and...

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