Desert Trail: Hwy 78 to Drinkwater Pass
Desert Trail: Warm Springs Segment
See an overview map of Desert Trail segments from Highway 78 to the Canada border here.
This segment leaves Highway 78 in Oregon near Summit Springs and heads cross-country across state and BLM high desert lands before joining the Juntura-Riverside Road for a few miles. After crossing the Malheur River it climbs back up to travel cross-country through high desert all the way to Drinkwater Pass.
This segment is primarily across hilly sage and juniper country. I saw mule deer, chukar, bighorn sheep, coyotes and antelope. There are often good views and you should be able to see the Blue Mountains on a clear day.
I found no drinkable water from the river to Drinkwater Pass. There are springs plotted near the route between the Juntura Road and Highway 78, but that stretch is a reroute and has not been scouted yet.
As roughly plotted digitally the Warm Springs segment is 57.6 miles long. Allowing for real-world twists and turns it is closer to 66 miles.
You can read my journal entries of this segment starting at June 9 here. (This segment is partially re-routed from my hike to avoid getting permission from a private land-owner and to stay in the back-country more.)
This segment is plotted on Google Maps below. You will also find maps that you can view online or print. This is a route, not a trail and there are no markers.
If you hike this segment of the Desert Trail, please report your experience below, including water sources, routefinding etc.
I have information on each of the new Desert Trail segments from Highway 78 in Oregon to Canada as seen below. For a rough digital map of that stretch of trail, click here.
Warm Springs: Highway 78 to Drinkwater Pass
Malheur: Drinkwater Pass to Austin Junction
NF John Day Wilderness: Austin Junction to FR 52
Wallowa: FR 52 to I-84
Umatilla I-84 (Exit 243) to Timothy Springs
Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness: Timothy Springs to Dayton
Wheat Land: Dayton to Hooper
Columbia Plateau: Hooper to Spokane
Mt. Spokane: Spokane to Newport
Selkirk Mountains: Newport to Canada
View Desert Trail: Warm Springs Segment in a larger map where can download the .kml file if you want and convert it for use with most GPS units.