800 mile route that stretches from the Badlands Wilderness to the Lake Owyhee Reservoir

  • Steens Mountains
  • Google Map for ODT

About

The Oregon Desert Trail (ODT) is an 800 mile route that stretches from the Oregon Badlands Wilderness to the Lake Owyhee Reservoir near the Idaho border. The route was the brain child of Brent Fenty, Executive Director of Oregon Natural Desert Association, ONDA. The ODT was created to bring attention to some of the hidden gems of eastern Oregon, and hopefully stir up passion for protection of these wild spaces. ONDA had Wahoo films make a short movie about the trail, Sage Steppes: 800 miles on the Oregon Desert Trail. They also kept a great blog about the hike. On June 5th, 2013 I stepped out my door in Bend for a bike/hike adventure along this brand new route. 37 days later I found myself flying down the last big hill from Lake Owyhee towards the meeting of the Owyhee and the Snake River after having walked over 600 miles and peddling 200. The beauty of this trail was a surprise- honestly I wasn’t so sure about the route when I left Bend! Challenge and reward is the pattern of this basin and range route. Long treeless & waterless stretches are contrasted by empty alpine meadows and twisting canyons.

Warnings

The ODT has some inherent dangers that any hiker should prepare for before hitting this trail. First, it is not actually a trail. There is hardly any actual trail tread on the entire route, and I was kept on my toes navigating across the landscape. Second, water is hard to come by on the ODT and planning for this factor should not be taken lightly. I had 7 well thought out water caches and often was happy to have carried extra water from reliable sources, despite the added weight.

Weather

The weather conditions were all over the place, and there are long shadeless stretches. I enjoyed having to be prepared for 40 degree temperature changes, torrential downpours, snow storms, and heat waves. Hiking in a truly treeless landscape was intimidating but turned out to be really interesting. There is an amazing amount of life in this seemingly inhospitable landscape!

People

The people that live out there in Oregon’s outback are tough, kind, and incredibly knowledgable about this unknown edge of the state. My interactions with these ranchers and cowboys made me question how I think about conservation and I am still trying to sort out this new complexity in my personal wilderness ethic.

 

  • Checkout ONDA’s Guidebook
  • I have some additional beta on the route. If you are dreaming of hiking the ODT, by all means, let me know!  Send me an email at info@sageclegg.com with ODT in the header. 
  • View my GPS route here
  • Google Map for ODT

 

Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation |  Mysterious Gross Stuff

National Geographic Adventure | World’s Best Hikes: 20 Dream Trails

The Source Weekly | Hiking for a Higher Cause

The Bulletin | Hiking in Oregon

The Oregonian | Sage Clegg, first through hiker on the ODT, begins 800-mile trek

KTVZ  | Hiker Conquers Long-Distance Feat on Foot

OPB | 800 Miles of Juniper and Jack Rabbits: First Hiker Completes the Oregon Trail

Camp setupThis is a list of the equipment I carried while backpacking on the Oregon Desert Trail. Each hike my pack changes a bit, depending on the demands of the region and the time of year. The high desert can be all over the place!! This trip I carried a bit more techno-gadgets than normal, but the trade off was essential to meet the goal of sharing the hike with others.

Item Amount Weight
Sleep System & Shelter
Backpack 29.12
Stuff Sacks 1.15×3 3.45
Titanium Tent Stakes 1.65
Shelter  3.40
Ground Sheet 2.00
Sleeping Pad 8.00
Silk Liner 2.95
Sleeping Bag  18.00
TOTAL 68.57 oz
Clothing
Bug head net 1.20
Plantars sleeves  1.00
1-3 pairs of socks  1-1.5×2  2.50
Down Jacket  6.00
Synthetic Jacket, hooded  9.85
Rain Jacket  5.80
Wind Jacket  3.30
LJ bottoms  4.40
Rain Pants  4.10
Warm Hat  2.60
Sun Hat  2.70
Pee Rag    1.00
Bandana  2.00
Crocks  9.00
Sunglasses 1.20
TOTAL 56.65 oz
Clothing Worn 1.00
Dirty Girl Gaiters 30.00
1 pair of shoes 5.00
Hiking Shirt
Insoles  02 or 3.5 3.00
Bra 1.20
Trekking Poles 16.64
TOTAL 61.34 oz
Body Care
Tooth Brush 1.00
 Tooth Paste  1.00
Floss N/A
Hair Ties 0.05
Tampons/Diva Cup 1.00
Meds 1.00
Bug Dope 0.75
Water Tx 1.50
Sunscreen  3.00
Chapstick .20
 1st Aid 1.50
TOTAL  11.00 oz
Kitchen
knife 0.85
lighter  0.50
spoon 0.25
dish 2.10
Water bottles 2.10
Water bags  1.25×2  2.50
TOTAL 8.30 oz
Gadgets, Odds & Ends
Headlamp 1.70
GPS  5.10
AA Batteries  1oz/each  variable
GoPro  8.10
Spot Beacon  4.20
Iphone  6.05
Battery Backpack (Iphone) 3.75
 Ipod & headphones  2.00
Wall Jack  0.80
Stick Pic 0.55
Mini USB Cord 0.60
Notebook 3.40
Pen & Pencil  0.70
Ziplock bags variable
 Maps  variable
Water Sample kit  variable
Extra GoPro batteries  1oz/each 1.00
TOTAL  39.95 oz
Additional Gear for the Owyhee
Trash Compactor bags 6.00
Additional Dry Bags 2.50
Additional GoPro Batteries 1.00
TOTAL EQUIPMENT  245.8oz/16  15.4 lbs
CARRIED EQUIPMENT  -3.8 lbs worn  11.6 lbs