Fremont National Recreation Trail Work June 21-24

Sarah Imholt


Oregon Desert Trail Map

Oregon Desert Trail Map


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.”


Great Basin Spadefoot Toads – a sleepy chorus

Great Basin Spadefoot Toads – a sleepy chorus

Organizer: Renee Patrick

Start Date: 6/21/2018

End Date: 6/24/2018

Region: N/A

Difficulty Rating: 5 out of 5

Maximum Group Size: 15 participants (this trip is still accepting waitlisted participants)

About the place

The Fremont National Forest offers a setting of classic Western beauty derived from the land’s volcanic legacy. The ecosystem ranges from towering snow-capped peaks to wide-open sage basins. The Fremont National Recreation Trail traverses most of the length of the forest from north to south, and the Oregon Desert Trail ties into over 60 miles of this trail system that was designated as a National Recreation Trail in 1979.

About the stewardship work

ONDA created Oregon Desert Trail (ODT) a few years ago to link existing trails, old two-track roads, and cross country travel as a way to introduce hikers to the stunning landscapes found in Oregon’s high desert. ODT’s overlap with the Fremont National Recreation Trail is the largest section that ties into existing trail tread for over 60 miles starting at the Chewaucan Crossing near the town of Paisley.

We typically head to the work site at 8 a.m. and stop work by 4 p.m. in order to leave time in the afternoon to clean-up, relax, and cook a well-deserved dinner. Volunteers will rehabilitate trail tread, remove obstacles, install drainage structures, and brush the trail corridor. No previous trail building experience is needed to attend this trip; ONDA and the Forest Service will provide all instruction and necessary tools to do the job. The section of trail we will be working on is along a stunning ridge line with expansive views! All that is required is a love of the high desert, a big smile, and a willingness to learn.

Trip timeline

  • Thursday, June 21, 5 – 7 p.m. We will be car camping off a Forest Service road about a mile from the trail work location. The road should be suitable for most vehicles. Please plan to arrive in the evening and set up basecamp.
  • Friday, June 22: After breakfast, we will carpool to the trail, or volunteers are welcome to leave early and walk to our work location about a mile from camp. We will be working in the vicinity of Morgan Butte with fantastic views all around. Volunteers should plan to be out all day and be prepared for a full day of hiking and doing physical work in full sun.
  • Saturday, June 23: After breakfast, we will continue the trail work up and over Morgan Butte. Volunteers should plan to be out all day and prepared for a full day of hiking and doing physical work in full sun.
  • Sunday, June 24: Volunteers will have the option to head home or spend an immersive morning learning about a unique aspect of the high desert environment. (Do you have specialized knowledge of the high desert you would like to share with your fellow volunteers? Our morning session could cover information about the local geology, plant or animal life, cultural history, or could even involve a session of creating artwork or a piece of writing. Contact Renee for more information about this new educational opportunity on this volunteer trip). We should be finished with this optional morning activity around noon, when we can head to the Pioneer Saloon in Paisley for a much-deserved beverage and meal.


We will be car camping off a Forest Service road about a mile from the trail work location. There will be no running water or bathroom facilities, so please be prepared for primitive camping.


Level 5

This trip will require physically strenuous work at elevations around 7,000’ and hot daytime temperatures.

Participant responsibilities

Participants are responsible for their own food and camping gear as well as transportation to and from the trip (don’t forget your camp chair!). ONDA will bring some water, but it is a good idea to supplement our supply with a few gallons from home. In the event of sunny and hot weather, please bring up to four liters of water capacity for the day, and consider an electrolyte replacement drink or mix to help you stay hydrated. Sturdy off-trail ankle-high boots, long pants, a long sleeve shirt (a lightweight sun shirt is a great option), and eye protection are required for this trip (sunglasses or prescription eyeglasses are suitable eye protection). Participants should be prepared to be away from camp all day and bring a daypack for lunch, snacks, and water.

Gear provided

ONDA and the Forest Service will provide tools for the work, work gloves, sunscreen, and hardhats. ONDA will bring some group camping equipment (shade tent, tables for cooking, wash bins for kitchen cleanup, a privy), some potable water, expert leadership, and we can talk about long distance hiking on the Oregon Desert Trail.


An ONDA registration application and medical form are required for this trip.

Join waitlist now

You only need to fill this form out once per year and can join additional trips this year by emailing the trip leader directly. You will receive a confirmation email within 10 working days of submitting your form. The confirmation email will provide information regarding which trips you are on the “participant list” for, and which trips are full, and therefore you have been placed on the “waitlist.”

Six weeks before the start of the trip, the trip leader will send out an RSVP to make sure everyone is still able to participate. Based on RSVPs, open spaces will be backfilled with people from the waitlist.

Three weeks before the trip start date, registered and confirmed participants will receive driving instructions, maps, carpooling options, and additional information in an email sent by the trip leader.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact the trip leader.