Monday, February 06, 2012

Upcoming Thru-Hike: The Desert Trail

This summer I will be attempting another long hike, this time along the Desert Trail. The Desert Trail starts on the Mexico/California border, and runs over 1,500 miles northward through Death Valley and then through western Nevada and into Oregon.

From the end of the designated trail I've laid out my own route through the Blue Mountains and eastern Washington, then along the Washington/Idaho border, finishing at the border of Canada for a total of about 2,500 miles.

This route will rely on many water and food caches, especially in the south. Along with long stretches of true desert there will be many miles of forested mountains and even a few walks through towns. The cactus photo was taken on the PCT near Scissors Crossing, just a few miles from the Desert Trail at that point.

You can find more information and a map on my website and follow my trail journal.


  1. Anonymous6:50 PM

    Hello from eastern Washington. I'm intrigued by the map that shows your planned route through eastern Washington and northern Idaho. How did you decide on the route you've chosen?

  2. Originally it was hoped to run the Desert Trail route up through eastern Washington, but that idea was scrapped due to private land issues. I considered other alternatives. One idea floated years ago was to cross all the way over to the Continental Divide Trail, but I've already hiked that trail and it seems like a long way to go when it's not even the desert for the most part. I also considered tying in with the Idaho Centennial Trail, but scrapped that idea for much the same reason.

    Looking at the map, I decided to follow the Umatilla National Forest out of Oregon into Washington, and then do a lot of road walking through private land until I got to the Colville National Forest in NE Washington.

    Studying Google Earth, I noticed some wild looking country SW of Spokane. On another map I noticed some kind of trail running through it, and eventually identified it as the Columbia Plateau Trail. I plan to walk that to the Spokane area, where I found bike trails I can link up to get me through most of Spokane.

    Mt Spokane State Park will give me a bit more public land. Next I picked what appeared to be one of the most direct road walks to get me back to the Colville NF and more public lands.

    I will follow trails as much as I can through the Colville. I used Google Earth from ground level to follow the border to a nice setting to finish the hike, if all goes well!

    As plotted on the map on my website, only the general corridor of that stretch of the trail is plotted.

    Undoubtedly I'll encounter some surprises by winging it to that degree, but the unknown and unexpected often leads to adventure!

  3. Anonymous8:06 PM

    Well, I'll definitely be following the blog. If I could possibly help with your planning, I'd be more than willing.

    And yeah, once you get near to Spokane, or anywhere further north, you'll be hard pressed to find any desert country.

    Just out of curiousity, when you were thinking of hooking up with the CDT were you thinking of using the Nez Perce National Historic Trail to do that?

  4. Hi George,


    Yes, the Nez Perce Trail was definitely an option I was looking at.

  5. I'm living in SW Utah now, let me know if you would like help with food/water caches!
    -Neon (PCT '10)

  6. Hi Neon!
    I was just thinking about the day we walked into Stehekin in the last couple of days. So what part of the trail are you nearest to? Email me at buck{at}

  7. Anonymous10:21 AM

    Hey Buck this is Kumvia Peak Scott you are going to pass by the camp site with showers and a swiming pool when your in the sheldon antelope perserve. also check out rainbow ridge fire opal mine they have cool well water and beautiful specimens of fireopal. after the shower you show yourself south of the small canyon 300'vertical and you will get cell recption up there


  8. Anonymous10:24 AM

    hello buck

  9. Hi Scott,
    Thanks! I checked out the opals and got a shower. Your tip on cell phone reception was also right on the money.
    Thanks for the help!