Fremont National Recreation Trail Work

Sarah Imholt


Karen Garber, volunteer since 2017

Karen Garber, volunteer since 2017

So glad we got to do a stewardship trip with ONDA this summer, and now I’m more inspired than ever to start hiking the Oregon Desert Trail in bits and pieces.


Oregon Desert Trail Map

Oregon Desert Trail Map


Western Meadowlark Dawn Chorus

Western Meadowlark Dawn Chorus

Organizer: Renee Patrick

Start Date: 6/27/2019

End Date: 6/30/2019

Region: N/A

Difficulty Rating: 5 out of 5

Maximum Group Size: 15 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 the Oregon Desert Trail (ODT) route 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. The 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. This work project will continue the work our 2017 and 2018 ONDA volunteers started.

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. The section of trail we will be working on offers expansive views of the Fremont Forest and the high desert. 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. All that is required is a love of the high desert, a big smile and a willingness to learn.

Trip Timeline

  • Thursday, June 27, 3 p.m.: We will meet on a primitive Forest Service road and hike 1.5 miles into our base camp location near Meyers Meadow. The road to our meeting spot should be suitable for all vehicles. Renee will be able to drive packs and tools up to the base camp location, but the condition of the road is marginal at best, so please plan on parking and hiking.
  • Friday, June 28: After breakfast, volunteers will receive tools training, and we will hike approximately 1.5 miles to continue our trail work from our 2017 ending location. 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 29: After breakfast, we will continue the trail work. Volunteers should plan to be out all day and be prepared for a full day of hiking and doing physical work in full sun.
  • Sunday, June 30: Volunteers will have the option to head home in the morning (with shuttle assistance for packs and gear) 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 even involve a session of creating artwork or a piece of writing. Contact Renee for more information about this 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 hiking to our camp near Meyers Meadow, approximately 1.5 miles in from our cars. We will be meeting at 3 p.m. on a primitive Forest Service road before hiking in together. Renee will be able to drive packs and tools to our base camp. A spring will provide water, and ONDA will bring a gravity filter for the group’s water needs. There will be no bathroom facilities, so please be prepared for primitive camping.


Level 5

This trip will require physically strenuous work at elevations around 7,000 feet 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 and a gravity filter for the group’s water needs. In the event of sunny and hot weather, please bring up to four liters of water carrying 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, and eye protection are required for this trip (sunglasses or prescription eye glasses are suitable eye protection). Participants will need to wear a hard hat during the work per Forest Service requirements (ONDA will provide), and 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. Check the box next to each trip you would like to attend. You only need to fill this form out once per year.

 Apply Now

What happens next?

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.