Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Desert Trail Itinerary

*Note* This itinerary is a tentative rough draft. Addresses, mileage and timeframe are subject to change. After the hike I will turn this page and information into a spreadsheet to make it easier to read. As the Swami says: 'Mother Nature doesn't have your itinerary, mate.' 

I will be updating this as I see informative with the forethought that someone else may find this useful in planning a future thru hike of the Desert trail. The itinerary is constructed with my intention to thru hike the DT without caching any food, however, I will cache water for the first 300m down south in the Borrego and Mojave Deserts. If any one has any updated information, in particular from hiking sections or the entirety of the DT, please feel free to contact me, so I can update this itinerary.  

 A very valuable resource is Buck Nelson's site. Click HERE. I'd be remiss if I didn't give him the due respect for all the undertaking and planning from his DT thru hike and adventure in 2012. More history and information.

Desert Trail
(91 days) 

Jucumba Hot Springs to Mecca (111m)
  • 4/9-4/13
  • Mecca PO, package and maps to I40, Ludlow crossing
General Delivery
91307 2nd St.
Mecca CA 92254
M-F 0900-1630
    • Jucumba to Box Willow CG (23m)
    • BW to Hwy 78 (35m)
    • Hwy 78 to Hwy S-22 (18m)
    • Hwy S-22 to Mecca (35m)
•Mecca to Ludlow (160m)
  • 4/13-4/19
  • Ludlow, I40 crossing, resupply meet-up, maps to I15, Baker crossing
Kelso Depot Visitor Center
90942 Kelso-Cima Rd.
Kelso CA 92309
    • Mecca to Box Cyn Rd. (20m)
    • BC Rd. to I10 (23m)
    • I10 to Eagle Mtn. Rd. (33m)
    • Eagle Mtn. Rd. to Hwy 62 (27m)
    • Hwy 62 to Rte 66 (38m)
    • Rte 66 to I40 (19m)
•Ludlow to Baker (112m)
  • 4/20-4/23
  • Baker, I15 crossing, resupply meet-up, maps to Stovepipe Wells
    • I40 to Kelso Dunes Rd. (21m)
    • Kelso Dunes Rd. to Kelso (12m)
    • Kelso to Hole-in-the-Wall (22m)
    • HITW to Cima (21m)
    • Cima to I15 (36m)
•Baker to Tecopa Hot Springs (61m)
  • 4/25-4/27
  • Tecopa HS, package, dropped off or mailed
Tecopa Hot Springs Resort
860 Tecopa Hot Springs Rd.
Tecopa, CA 92389
    • I15 to Kingston Rd. (32m)
    • Kingston Rd. to Tecopa HS (29m)
•Tecopa Hot Springs to Stovepipe Wells (95m)
  • 4/27-5/1
  • Stovepipe Wells, package and maps to Hwy 6, Tonopah crossing
Stovepipe Wells General Store
51880 CA Hwy 190
Death Valley, CA 92328
    • Tecopa HS to Greenwater Rd./Miller Jct. (24m)
    • Miller Jct. to Sheep Cyn. (20.5m)
    • Sheep Cyn. to N. End of West Side Rd. (22.5m)
    • N. End of West Side Rd. to Stovepipe Wells (28m)
Alternate: Panamint Range Traverse: (~115m), hike into SW

•Stovepipe Wells to Tonopah (179m)
  • 5/2-5/7
  • Tonopah, resupply in-town, PO maps only to Hwy 94, Hawthorne crossing
General Delivery
201 Erie Main
Tonopah NV 89049
    • Stovepipe Wells to Goldbelt Spring (22m)
    • Goldbelt Spring to Racetrack Valley (14m)
    • Racetrack Valley to Ubehebe Crater (25m)
    • Ubehebe Crater to Eureka Dunes (23m)
    • Eureka Dunes to NV Border (20m)
    • NV Border to NV Rte. 266 (12m)
    • NV Rte. 266 to McAfee Cyn. (26m)
    • McAfee Cyn. to Fish Lake Valley (18m)
    • Fish Lake Valley to Hwy 6 (19m) 
•Tonopah to Hawthorne (77m)
  • 5/9-5/11
  • Hawthorne, resupply in-town, PO maps only to I80, Lovelock crossing
  • Luning crossing at Hwy 95, possible PO
General Delivery
701 6th St.
Hawthorne NV 89415
    • Hwy 6 to NV Rte. 360 (22m)
    • NV Rte. 360 to Marietta Rd. (20m)
    • Marietta Rd. to Garfield Flat Rd. (14m)
    • Garfield Flat Rd. to Hwy 95 (21m)
•Hawthorne to Lovelock (203m)
  • 5/12-5/19
  • Hwy 50, Fallon crossing, bailout option for resupply, Middlegate Crossing (74m)
  • Lovelock, resupply in-town, PO maps only to Gerlach/Black Rock Desert
  • Alternate hike into Lovelock
General Delivery
390 Main St.
Lovelock NV 89419
    • Hwy 95 to Gabbs Valley (32m)
    • Gabbs Valley to Bell Flat (23m)
    • Bell Flat to Hwy 50 (19m)
    • Hwy 50 to Dixie Valley Rd. (25m)
    • Dixie Valley Rd to Stillwater Rd. (Stillwater Range Traverse) (61m)
    • Stillwater Rd. to East Rd. (21m)
    • East Rd. to I80 (22m)
•Lovelock to Gerlach (117m)
  • 5/21-5/25
  • Gerlach PO, package and maps to Denio
  • 12.5m hike/hitch from Sulphur Rd. to Gerlach, (~130m with hike/hitch)
General Delivery
345 E. Sunset Blvd.
Gerlach NV 89412
    • I80 to Granite Spgs Valley Rd. (33m)
    • Granite Spgs Valley Rd. to Juniper Pass (17m)
    • Juniper Pass to Kumiva Valley (19m)
    • Kumiva Valley to Kumiva Pass (15m)
    • Kumiva Pass Sulphur Rd. (33m)
•Gerlach to Denio (178m)
  • 5/26-6/1
  • Denio PO, package and maps to La Grande
General Delivery
1 Main St.
Denio NV 89404
    • Sulphur Rd. to Wheeler Reservoir (42m)
    • Wheeler Reservoir to Soldier Meadows (26m)
    • Soldiers Meadows to High Rock Cyn. (13m)
    • High Rock Cyn. to Cottonwood Cyn. (32m)
    • Cottonwood Cyn. to Pueblo Mtns. near Denio (65m)
•Denio to Burns (160m)
  • 6/2-6/8
  • Fields Station, cafe, motel
  • Frenchglen (3m off trail)
  • Hwy 78, Burns crossing, resupply in-town, hitch
    • Denio to Fields (30m)
    • Fields to Alvord Hot Springs (25m)
    • Alvord Hot Springs to Big Indian Gorge Rim (15m)
    • Big Indian Gorge Rim to Page Springs (30m)
    • Page Springs to Diamond Craters (30m)
    • Diamond Craters to Hwy 78 (30m)
•Burns to Austin Junction (150m)
  • 6/9-6/14
  • Austin Junction, minimal resupply, cafe
  • Drinwater Pass, cafĂ©
  • Sumpter, full resupply
Austin House Cafe & Country Store
75802 Hwy 26
Bates OR 97817
    • Hwy 78 to Drinkwater Pass (~66m)
    • Drinkwater Pass to Austin Junction (~84m)
    • Alternate mileage:
      • Road 13 to Hwy 26 (28.5m)
      • Hwy 26 to Sumpter (26.5m)
•AJ to La Grande (~117m)
  • 6/15-6/19
  • I84, La Grande crossing, maps to PO to Canada, resupply in-town, hitch
General Delivery
1202 Washington Ave.
La Grande OR 97850
    • AJ to FS Rd. 52 (~60m)
    • FS Rd. 52 to I84 (~57m)
    • Alternate mileage:
      • Sumpter to Hwy 244 (69m)
      • Hwy 244 to I84 (41m), resupply in La Grande
•La Grande to Dayton (~149m)
  • 6/20-6/25
  • Tollgate, small cafe and store
  • Dayton, resupply in-town
  • Starbuck, no resupply, PO
    • La Grande to Timothy Springs (~80)
    • Timothy Springs to Dayton (~69m)
    • Alternate mileage:
      • I84 to Tollgate/Hwy 204 (51.5m)
      • Tollgate to terminus/Tucannon trailhead (99.5m)
      • Terminus to Buck's DT near Starbuck (mileage unknown)
•Dayton to Spokane (~133m)
  • 6/26-6/30
  • Hooper, PO, no store
  • Spokane, resupply in-town 
    • Dayton to Hooper (~43m)
    • Hooper to Spokane (~90m)
•Spokane to Newport (~64m)
  • 7/2-7/3
  • Newport, resupply in-town
    • West Spokane to Mt. Spokane (~36m)
    • Mt. Spokane to Blanchard (~16m)
    • Blanchard to Newport (~12m)
•Newport to Canada (~95m)
  • 7/4-7/8
  • Exit via the ICT, (+22.5m) to Upper Priest Lake State Park


  1. Very cool to see your plan laid out, Dirtmonger. Thanks for the mention!

    I'm sure you're aware of it, but it's worth noting for others planning their own trips off the more well-known trails: many Post Offices will not hold General Delivery mail if they aren't contacted ahead of time to expect your package. I learned this the hard way at Chiriaco Summit Post Office, where they returned my package despite my note to "Please hold for long distance hiker, Estimated Arrival **/**/2012"

    Oh, and FWIW I've found hitching to be tough in Nevada, and it's legality is questionable.

    You are going to absolutely crush this trail.

    1. Thanks Buck. I am glad that you are following along.

  2. I'm so inspired by you.This is awesome. I'd like to send you a resupply package, maybe early June... right in the middle of it. Let me know Ryan.

    Much Love to you
    Rose Bredin

    1. Thanks Rose! I'll take you up on that offer. I'll message you soon

  3. Hey I just saw that you're going through Starbuck WA. I work very close to there (at Little Goose Dam), let me know if I can help by holding a resupply package or putting you up for a night or something (I live in Walla Walla, about 40 minutes away). The Army Corp also maintains free campsites on the Snake near Starbuck if you are in need of camping nearby.

    1. Hey thanks Ashley. Much appreciated for the offer. I’ve got a pkg in Dayton waiting for me so I should be good. But if yer up for a bite or something let me know. (: