Monday, March 19, 2018

Desert Trail Map

Goals with creating Desert Trail map:
  • Preparing the route for my hike. Since there is no other online resource other than Buck's map on his website showing the totality of the DT, this was the best way to pre-hike the trail mentally. I also plotted the Desert Trail from Jucumba Hot Springs, CA to Highway 78 in OR using the Desert Trail Association's Guidebooks and Maps.
  • To provide an updated map resource with water info, resupply stops, and navigation info. This thru-hike attempt will be the follow up to Buck's thru-hike in 2012, so all the information gathered will be the most current.
  • To have a living map/document with me out on trail to use and update, as well as a back-up resource for the paper maps.
  • To 'field-truth' the route and plot waypoints of a 'live' location overlapping with planned plotted waypoints.
  • To eventually create a GPS track and file for future thru-hikers, as well as a downloadable map set.
  • To promote awareness of the DT, as well as to reinvigorate and validate Buck's established and recognized route of the DT by the Desert Trail Assn. extending to the Canadian border.
  • Buck's Desert Trail map: click here
Map and location facts:

  • Patterned after the PCT and AT, the DT is a conceptual route dreamed up and planned by Russell Pengelly back in the 1960's.
  • The DT extended to Highway 78 in Oregon, near Burns, from Jucumba Hot Springs CA, a short distance east of the PCT.
  • The route north from Highway 78 to Canada was developed and hiked by Buck Nelson in 2012.
  • The Oregon Desert Trail uses the DT through the Pueblo and Steens Mountains connected by the Alvord Desert in southeastern OR.
  • I will be scouting a potential route in northeastern OR that ties closely with what Buck created tentatively dubbed the Blue Mountain Trail schemed up by Jason Bulay. More to come on this alternate and/or route and how it overlaps and provides a scenic alternate for the DT.
  • In Death Valley, I am planning on hiking my Death Valley NoName Route as a more scenic alternate of the DT through DV. This route includes potentially a 'first documented' traverse attempt of the Panamint Range from south to north. Ultimately, I want to create this DV NoName as a complete traverse, which in 2015 I hiked from Stovepipe Wells to Willow Spring including a descent down Bighorn Gorge. 
  • I waypointed close to 1500 plots in preparation for the DT thru-hike. See map below.

  • Steve Tabor's The Desert Trail in California and The Desert Trail in Nevada guidebook series. Absolutely incredible series with great route description, flora and fauna information, water sources, photos, and map sketches.
  • George Huxtable's Hiking the Desert Trail: A Guided Route Covering the Length of Death Valley book.
  • The Desert Trail Guide map series from northwestern NV, including the Black Rock Desert, and southeastern OR, as published by the Desert Trail Association and provided by Dan Chamness of the DTA.
  • Buck Nelson's site provided the most useful and up to date information by a thru-hiker. Without his site, the DT as it now is may not exist save for a distant public memory. Here's his link again: click here
  • The Oregon Desert Trail's website: click here
  • Benchmark Map and Atlas books of CA, NV, OR, and WA.
  • GAIA app.
  • Previous hiking of the DT in sections including the Borrego Desert, Death Valley, and on the ODT in the Pueblos and the Steens in OR.

Stay tuned for more updates!!


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    1. Thanks Buck. I hope I can honor the path you've blazed with due diligience and respect. Thanks for all the hard work you put into this awesome Desert Trail!

  2. hey Dirtmonger Hippie Long Stockings here. Question when you started in Jacumba did you follow the railroad tracks after reaching DeAnza Springs Resort or did you bushwhack the canyon below the tracks? I work at DeAnza Springs Resort and have been trying to figure out my path from there to the S2. Thinking about hiking the trail this year. Information on that first leg would be awesome. thanks

  3. Hey Dirt Monger,
    Glider here. I met you at the motel in Cuba on the CDT in 2016.
    I have not really studied your materials, but I note that part of your Desert Trail hike you were going to traverse the Panamint Range. You state the traverse would be the first documented traverse of the Panamints.
    Not so. In 1974 I hiked the back one of the Panamints spending a full 40 days on the traverse itself and many side explorations. I have spent a lot of energy traversing the Crest of The Great Basin Ranges all EASTof the Sierra in California and all across Nevada. I was lucky to be a Wilderness Ranger and Trail Programs Coordinator all across Nevada for several years. At any rate, I am inspired by your quests and confess I caught the bug many years ago. At 71 years young I can't hike as strong as you young guys, but I am still Gliding On!
    Google Going Loopy in the Wild West
    Glide On! Hike On!