Happy Birthday!
Oregon Desert Trail Turns Five

In the spring of 2014, ONDA released a basic map-set for an ambitious route we’d started to call the “Oregon Desert Trail.” It wasn’t long before a few hikers set their sights on completing the route. Over the past five years, we’ve developed and refined many new resources to make our challenging eastern Oregon hike easier to plan and hike, making great strides to establish the Oregon Desert Trail since the nascent days of the route and our first guidebook.

As a result, hundreds of people have explored sections of the high desert for days or weeks at a time and 26 intrepid hikers have completed the whole 750-miles. These immersive experiences in Oregon’s high desert have helped hikers gain a better understanding of the importance of intact habitats, led to a steady growth in the number of hikers engaging with ONDA’s conservation efforts, and helped many Oregonians learn more about the dry-side of Oregon.

2019 ushers in the fifth year of the Oregon Desert Trail, and the updated materials we’re publishing now will provide even more opportunities to guide forms of quiet recreation to the stunning landscapes that ONDA has been working to protect, defend and restore since 1987.

The updated ODT Guidebook includes these new features:

  • Skills Progression: These suggestions were created to help hikers gain the experience needed to travel this challenging route.
  • Skills Rating: Each of the 25 sections now has a skills rating based on water availability, terrain and navigation.
  • Multi-Sport Info: Where can you paddle, bike, horseback ride or ski along the route? Each of the 25 sections now includes suggestions for multi-sport adventures along the route.
  • Driving Directions: How do you get to the start and end of each section? Detailed driving directions are now included in the guidebook.
  • Wildlife Tips: We partnered with Bend nonprofit Think Wild to provide some guidance around wildlife encounters in the high desert.
  • Native American History and Culture: This new section explains more about the indigenous people who live in and who have traveled throughout Oregon’s high desert for millennia.
  • Desert Hiking Tips: This list of tips will help you make the most of your desert hike.
  • Expanded Conservation Actions: This expanded section details many options to contribute to ONDA’s conservation work while on, or after, your hike.
  • Reroutes and Alternates: In our effort to refine the route, there are several short route changes and alternates added to our map sets and data.
  • Helpful Notes Added to the Maps: We’ve added guidance and suggestions to many of the maps to help you navigate specific areas of the route.


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.


Sage Steppes

Sage Steppes


Western Meadowlark Dawn Chorus

Western Meadowlark Dawn Chorus

Oregon Desert Trail as Inspiration

The Oregon Desert Trail has inspired many hikers to look beyond established trails and try to create routes of their own.

Notable 2018 thru-hikers Ras and Kathy Vaughan (or team UltraPedestrian) linked together the Oregon Desert Trail with the Pacific Crest Trail, Pacific Northwest Trail and Idaho Centennial Trail to form a 2,600-mile loop. Read more about their adventure and make a plan to attend one of their upcoming presentations taking place all around the Pacific Northwest this spring.

UpNorth Loop Tour

4/3/19 Mountaineers Tacoma, WA 7pm
4/4/19 Seven Hills Running Shop Seattle, WA 7pm
4/5/19 Mountain Shop Portland, OR 7pm
4/8/19 Fleet Feet Vancouver, WA 6pm
4/9/19 REI at WildCraft Cider Works Eugene, OR 7pm
4/11/19 Footzone Bend, OR 7pm
4/15/19 Tall Town Bike & Camp Lakeview, OR 6pm
4/22/19 Fleet Feet Tacoma, WA 6pm
4/23/19 Fleet Feet Seattle, WA 8pm
4/24/19 Mountain Supply Bend, OR 7pm
4/25/19 Fleet Feet Portland, OR 6pm
4/26/19 Obsidians Lodge Eugene, OR 7:30pm
4/27/19 Peak Sports Corvallis, OR 3pm
4/29/19 Fleet Feet Spokane, WA 6pm
4/30/19 REI Kennewick, WA 7:15pm
5/1/19 REI Boise, ID 7pm
5/2/19 Fleet Feet Meridian, ID 6pm
5/3/19 Boise State University Boise, ID TBD
5/6/19 Mountain Shop Portland, OR 7pm
5/7/19 Downtown Bend Library Bend, OR 6pm
5/9/19 Christmas Valley Boosters Hall Christmas Valley, OR 6:30pm
5/10/19 Paisley Community Hall Paisley, OR 1:30pm
5/10/19 Lake County Library Lakeview, OR 6:30pm