These free resources are available as PDF downloads. Click on links to start downloads.
OREGON DESERT TRAIL MAPS
Trail maps include waypoints, distances between waypoints, trail surface type, water information, declination, private land boundaries, and, new in 2017, information on public land, several reroutes, and a selection of alternates including: Christmas Valley, Orejana Canyon, Blitzen River, Alvord Hot Springs, McDermitt, and many more options in the Owyhee Canyonlands.
SECTION OVERVIEW MAPS
Each of the 25 ODT sections has an overview map; these are also incorporated into the guidebook.
The ODT Guidebook provides an introduction and “know before you go” information that is helpful in preparing for a hike along the route. Detailed section info includes a public lands glossary and guide to land designations along the ODT, to be paired with 2017 map update. It also includes section overview maps and elevation profiles. (updated 6/15/17)
These free resources are available as downloads. All data can be downloaded here.
OREGON DESERT TRAIL GPS WAYPOINTS
Upload the ODT waypoints to your GPS or phone, but don’t forget the paper maps…technology can fail! This .gpx file has the waypoints for the entire trail and all the alternates. Find detailed information on the alternate options in the guidebook and on the maps. (updated 5/18/17)
OREGON DESERT TRAIL GPS TRACKS
These .kml tracks can be uploaded to Google Earth so you can peruse the route while at home, or uploaded to your GPS device or smart phone for guidance on the trail. To minimize impacts especially on cross country sections, please disperse your travel, the track is a suggestion of travel.
- Region 1 (Sections 1-6) updated 5/18/17
- Region 2 (Sections 7-12) updated 5/18/17
- Region 3 (Sections 13-19) updated 5/18/17
- Region 4 (Sections 20-25) updated 5/18/17
- Christmas Valley
- Orejana Canyon
- Blitzen River
- Alvord Hot Springs
- Owyhee Canyonlands: Flag Crossing, Three Forks, Indian Creek, Soldier Creek, Greeley Bar
This file (ODT Water Sources.kml) has all the water sources as waypoints. These are the sources listed in the databook and guidebook and on the maps. As always, if something in inaccurate in the location of a waypoint, please let us know.
VIEW THE OREGON DESERT TRAIL ON THE HIKING PROJECT WEBSITE (SECTIONS 1-9)
Download the Android App
Download the Apple App
DATA BOOK/WATER CHART ON GOOGLE DOCS
The data book/water chart is a Google Doc, and may be one of the most important resources for hiking the Oregon Desert Trail. Where is the water? How reliable is it? Find out on the water chart and contribute your findings for others while on the trail. The information is organized by map number and waypoint. You can download the data book/water chart as a PDF or Excel file in the upper left corner of the page. Detailed directions are provided for guidance on how to use and update the water chart while on the trail.
NEW in 2018: WATER WAYPOINTS
This file found in the GPS data folder (ODT Water Sources.kml) has all the water sources as waypoints. These are the sources listed in the databook and guidebook and on the maps. As always, if something in inaccurate in the location of a waypoint, please let us know.
WATER CACHE GUIDELINES & MAPS
Most hikers will want to cache water on the first 160 miles of the route. View our caching guidelines below, and email us for maps of suggested cache spots.
When choosing the best method for caching supplies along the trail, please take the following items into consideration:
Caching on National Wildlife Refuges and National Forests is prohibited.
- Hide caches so they are not visible from roads and mark with name and ETA date. (Sagebrush can offer good camouflage in many sections of the ODT) It is essential to HIDE your caches. Several have gone missing over the past few seasons because hikers did not hide their caches from view of roads.
- Mark cache location with a GPS waypoint to ensure you can find them.
- Avoid using flagging which can draw attention to your cache. If you deem flagging essential to recovering your cache (hiking without GPS device) please be sparing and pack out all traces to comply with Leave No Trace principals.
- Bury caches only on previously disturbed land. High desert soils and vegetation can take many years to recover from disturbances.
- When burying caches, place water/supplies in a 5-gallon bucket to prevent animal disturbances. Cover completely with dirt/rocks and GPS waypoint the location. If supplies have an odor, odor proof barrier bags should be used inside the 5-gallon bucket.
- Please be sensitive to any archaeological or cultural resources you encounter in the desert. Preserve the past: look, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Plan to cache approximately 2 gallons [approx. 7.6 liters] per location, per person. Because individual water needs vary, please carry more water than you think you will need.
- A “heavier” plastic water jug is recommended as freezing water can crack a typical grocery store gallon jug, and extended sun exposure can make plastic brittle.
- A high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle is recommended to place caches. Please keep all vehicle travel to existing roads. In times of extreme fire danger, driving on primitive roads may be prohibited.
You must pack out all used containers and trash. Gallon jug containers are light and easily tied to a pack. Be even more prepared than you think you should be and have an incredible adventure.
A trail register records the comings and goings of trail users, and are typically notebooks housed in areas of high traffic for a hiker along a trail or route (post office, grocery store, hotel). They are very helpful for a number of reasons: communication between hikers, recording visitor information and use, passing on information about current hazards or trail conditions, and to aid in search and rescue efforts.
Please sign into trail registers at the following locations:
- Christmas Valley: Lakeside Terrace Restaurant
- Paisley: Paisley Mercantile
- Plush: Hart Mountain Store
- Hart Mountain Refuge: In-house register at the visitors center
- Frenchglen: In-house register at Frenchglen Hotel
- Fields: In-house register at Fields Station
- McDermitt: Ideal Market, ask for it at the register
ONLINE TRAIL REGISTER
Fill out the form below and get yourself added to the online register on the bottom of this page. Why fill out the online register? If you have hiking plans along the ODT, are looking for a trail partner, or if you’re a trail angel or have other announcements and you want to get the word out, consider signing the register.
Even if your plans are only vague and tentative, we encourage you to sign the register for the purpose of building momentum within the trail community.
Depending on the time of year, hikers may encounter snow, mud, fire, extreme heat, or other conditions that it would helpful to know about before embarking on the ODT. This document is meant to be a crowd-sourced resource for sharing observations of trail conditions, cross country sections, or two-track roads along the 750 mile route. Please add your observations!
The Hart Mt. Refuge was established in 1936 to provide range for remnant antelope herds. It is the only spot on the trail where you need a permit, but only if you plan on camping in the backcountry while on the refuge, outside the established campgrounds. Make sure to sign in the register at the headquarters!
This page is an excerpt from our Town & Services Guide. The document lists details on all of these options; see full guide on the Trail Resources page. Please note these mileages are based off the original ODT route, these do not include any alternate mileage.
There are areas along the Oregon Desert Trail where equestrians will enjoy riding in the high desert. We will be expanding upon these options soon, but a few trip ideas include:
- The Fremont National Recreation Trail (Sections 7 & 8). A horse camp is located at Moss Pass
- Steens Mountain Wilderness (Sections 13 & 14). A horse camp is located at South Steens Campground
There are areas along the Oregon Desert Trail were paddlers will enjoy some of the more remote Wild and Scenic Rivers in the high desert. We will be expanding upon these options soon, but a few trip ideas include:
- Chewaucan River (Section 7). This 20 mile section of river can be accessed via Moss Pass, there is no river gague and most of the year this river won’t have enough water to paddle, but winter and spring rain events can be a great time to head out east.
- Donner und Blitzen River (Section 13). This 17 mile section of river can be accessed via the South Steens Loop Road, but the gate may be closed when the river flow is up. Contact the Burns BLM for more info on the gate, a river gauge at Page Springs Campground will let you know if this Class III run is up. Packrafts and hardshell kayaks are best suited to this wilderness river.
- Owyhee River (Sections 21-25). 140 miles of this river has been paddled as a “water alternate” to the hiking route. More details coming soon on this trip or read a trip report here. Note: this is extremely challenging and remote. Several Class IV and V rapids create a very challenging route no matter the water flow.
Over half of the Oregon Desert Trail route are on roads of a varying degree. We will be expanding upon which of these roads are suitable for bikepacking, and ultimately hope to create a longer bikable version of the ODT in the future.
Some winters you could ski the entire Oregon Desert Trail, other winters you could hike many sections. We’ll be identifying some winter activities in places along the route soon, but in the mean time read this blog post to get some ideas on where to go during the winter months.
There are many options for shorter trips along the Oregon Desert Trail, here are some of our suggestions. If you have some trip ideas to add please let us know and we’ll list them here.
- Badlands (Section 1) – 9 miles one way
- Tumulus Trail to Flatiron Rock Trail: Set up a shuttle to hike all nine miles or do an out and back from either trailhead. There are many other trails in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness and you could easily turn your trip into a loop hike. See BLM map here (note, the map does not show the new trail we constructed in 2017 or note the ODT).
- Crack in the Ground (Christmas Valley Alternate) – 2 miles one way
- Crack-in-the-Ground is an ancient volcanic fissure over 2 miles long and up to 70 feet deep. Crack-in-the-Ground exists today nearly as it did shortly after its formation thousands of years ago. An established 2 mile trail along the fissure’s bottom offers a unique hike along an Oregon Desert Trail alternate. From Christmas Valley, head east on the Christmas Valley Highway for approximately 1 mile. Turn north (left) onto Crack-in-the-Ground Road and continue for about 7 miles, being sure to turn left onto Lava Craters Road, following signs to Crack in the Ground.
- Black Hills (Christmas Valley Alternate)
- The rocky outcrops that define the Black Hills Area of Environmental Concern (ACEC) are all that remains of an eroded dome of volcanic tuff, formed 4-7 million years ago near today’s Christmas Valley, and an Oregon Desert Trail alternate. Covered with hardy, low-growing plants, this high desert ecosystem hosts 3 BLM Special Status Species of plants: Cusick’s buckwheat, Warner Mountain bedstraw, and snowline cymopteris. From Christmas Valley, Oregon, take County Road 5-14F south. When the main roads turns west, continue south on the dirt road to the sign at the north edge of the site. To enter the site, turn east (left) and travel for .25 mile, then turn south up a rough jeep trail to the visitor information sign. This road should only be used by 4-wheel drive vehicles.
- Diablo Rim (Section 6) – 5.5 miles one way
- Access Diablo Peak from the town of Summer Lake: Turn onto Thousand Springs Lane just north of the rest area in town. Follow this road about 6 miles to a fork in the road, and turn right (south). Drive another 1.2 miles and park before a slight rise in the road, and before reaching the Thousand Springs Ranch. Head cross country towards Cat Camp Draw, and follow that up to Diablo Peak. GPS data can be found here.
- Fremont Forest (Sections 7-8)
- Chewaucan Crossing: From the free campsites at Chewaucan Crossing, hike south along the Fremont National Recreation Trail for a lovely out and back trip.
- Avery Pass: Avery Pass is accessable to most vehicles. Drive through Paisley, and continue south about 6 miles to turn right onto Clover Flat Road. Turn right at a sign indicating Morgan Butte Lookout and Avery Pass (follow signs to the pass). You can walk in either direction and enjoy some time on the Fremont National Recreation Trail and ODT!
- Morgan Butte Lookout: Morgan Butte lookout is one of a few remaining staffed fire lookout towers. Directions are the same as Avery Pass, with one different turn, marked by signs to guide you up. You can drive up and enjoy the view or hike north or south on the ODT and Fremont National Recreation Trail. There is even a pit toilet on top.
- Moss Pass: Moss pass has a nearby horse camp, a spring, and plenty of space to camp out. Drive south out of Paisley and turn right onto Clover Flat Road. Drive 9 miles and turn right on FS 3510. Follow this up to Moss Pass. Hike north or south on the ODT and Fremont National Recreation Trail.
- Mill Trailhead: Mill Trailhead is another entry point to the Fremont National Recreation Trail. From highway 395 about 12 miles north of Lakeview, turn left onto FS 3721, there is a trailhead sign to guide you just under 2 miles to the trailhead.
- Vee Lake: Vee Lake is the eastern terminus of the Fremont National Recreation Trail, and offers a primitive camp site with pit toilet, picnic tables, and good views of the Warner Mountains. Hike south to hit some fantistic ridgewalking on Crook Peak (6.5 miles one way) and McDowell Peak.
- Abert Rim (Section 8) – 1.5 miles one way, 2,000′ elevation gain
- Abert Rim can be difficult to access, but for the determined and hardy there is a cross country option up the Juniper Creek drainage off of highway 395. Park on the side of Abert Lake near a wildlife viewing area sign. Hike up the drainage, but be aware the last 300′ involve some intense bushwacking through trees and over boulders. This is not for the faint of heart. Once on top you are a short distance from the ODT route and the start of Section 9.
- Hart Mountain (Section 10)
- Warner Peak: While not on the ODT, a hike up Warner Peak will give you a grand view of the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. You can start from the Hot Springs Campground for an 11-mile hike, or take the shorter option and start from Barnhardi Meadow when the 4-by-4 road is open (Aug. 1 – Dec. 1). Walk (or drive) up Barnhardi Road, veer left at first junction and drop into Barnhardi Meadow (if driving, park here). Hike west past the historic cabin and continue up the drainage to DeGarmo Notch or choose a slope on the south side of the drainage to ascend to the ridge–this is the most challenging part of hike. Once on top of the ridge, you will see the radio tower on top of Warner to the south and that is your destination, Warner Peak.
- DeGarmo Canyon: From the base of Hart Mountain you can access this beautiful little canyon. An easy walk will take you 1.5 miles to the base of a waterfall. Almost 5 miles up the canyon adventourous hikers can make it to DeGarmo Notch. Some may want to hike all the way through to the Hot Springs Campground and soak away the sore muscles. Parts are a scramble with steep canyon walls, but waterfalls and flowers make this a worthwile hike. (to camp in the backcountry you will need a permit).
- Steens Mountain (Sections 13-14)
- Donner und Blitzen Trail: Page Springs Campground is just a few miles outside of Frenchglen along the Steens Loop Road. At the backside of the campground you can access the Donner und Blitzen Trail and an Oregon Desert Trail alternate. Walk the trail 4 miles to the confluence of Fish Creek, or stop and camp in one of the lovely river-side spots.
- Big Indian Gorge: From South Steens Campground the ODT follows the Big Indian Gorge about 8 miles to the headwall of the canyon. There are multiple stream crossings and multiple options for backcountry camping.
- Little Blitzen Gorge: From South Steens Campground hikers can explore Little Blitzen Canyon and an alternate to Big Indian Canyon. Hike 10 miles one way to the headwall of the canyon, or about half way look for the steep Nye Trail which will take you to the Steens Loop Road.
- Wildhorse Lake: Drive to the top of Steens Mountain on the Steens Loop Road to the parking area just below the summit. A steep 1.25 mile trail descends to Wildhorse Lake.
- Owyhee Canyonlands (Sections 21-25)
- Anderson Crossing: Anderson Crossing is at the start of Section 21. This can be accessed by high clearance vehicles (high water years may make the trip impossible as you need to cross the seasonal Antelope Creek which could be too high). From McDermitt, NV head north on highway 95 for 15 miles and turn right onto Jackson Creek Rd. Follow this about 14 miles to Pole Creek Rd to turn right and continue for about 20 miles to Anderson Crossing. There are a few campsites on the east side of West Little Owyhee, although high water levels may prevent a crossing. West Little Owyhee is the most challenging section of the ODT. The narrow slot canyon gets choked with boulders and willow trees, but it’s a great adventure to pick your way north and try out this epic section. Wet conditions could make driving to Anderson Crossing impossible. See our driving tips for suggestions on traveling in this part of the desert.
- Three Forks: The road down into Three Forks is best suited for four-wheel drive vehicles. This road is not good enough to travel on after even a quarter inch of rain: Do not leave the road if this is the case. The final 1.3 miles over the canyon rim is very steep. From Jordan Valley, head west along Highway 95 for 16 miles to a sign for Three Forks and the Soldier Creek Watchable Wildlife Loop. Turn left and drive along a dirt road for more than 27 miles to a junction, where you’ll turn right. After a few miles, you will reach the edge of the Owyhee Canyon rim. Either drive or walk down the grade into Three Forks reach the boat ramp below. To visit the Three Forks hot springs ford the North Owyhee River and walk through the towering canyon walls along an intermittent path along the mail Owyhee. After about 2 miles you will see the cascading falls of the warm springs on your right.
- Birch Creek: Accessibility is dependent on road conditions. A high clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended. From Highway 95, 8 miles north of Jordan Valley, turn west at the Jordan Craters sign onto Cow Creek Road. Follow BLM Owyhee River access signs 28 miles to the Ranch. An old road/trail heads upstream about a mile before the path disappears and you can follow game trails or make your way cross country as far into the canyon as you like.
- Leslie Gulch: From Jordan Valley, take Highway 95 north for 27 miles and turn left at the sign for Succor Creek. Take this road 8.5 miles to a T-shaped junction at the Rockville School, where you will head left toward Succor Creek for another 1.8 miles. Then turn left on the gravel for Leslie Gulch. It descends through stunning rock formations to the Owyhee River roughly 14.5 miles in. The nearly 25 miles of gravel dirt road down into Leslie Gulch is navigable by almost all passenger vehicles, but only in dry conditions. Rainfall can cause flash flooding and make the road impossible to navigate except for four-wheel-drive vehicles. In all conditions, large RVs are best left at home, as negotiating the steep grade with boat traffic can be dicey. From the free campground at Succor Creek you can head north or south on the ODT. Timber Gulch is also a very interesting canyon to explore.
Getting to and from some of the more remote sections of the Oregon Desert Trail can be tricky, so here are some ideas of loops you can make along the route. If you have some trip ideas to add please let us know and we’ll list them here.
- Christmas Valley Loop (Sections 3-5 & Christmas Valley Alternate) – 107.6 miles
- Start and end your hike in Christmas Valley with this loop option. This is a fairly dry area in the high desert, so please refer to the databook/water chart and contact us for maps of suggested water cache locations if you plan to cache.
- Owyhee Greeley Bar Loop (Section 24) – 22 miles
- From Birch Creek Ranch you can hike 22 miles along the ODT and an alternate, and it passes an intensely beautiful area along the Owyhee River! Give the Vale BLM district a call to check on road conditions into Birch Creek Ranch before you go.