The trailhead is located in the Jarbidge Wilderness. This is one of the most remote locations in the United States. Lacking paved roads, the nearby town of Jarbidge has barely 100 full-time residents.

Why did we pick this location to start the trail

The trail follows the edge of the Jarbridge-Bruneau canyon where views of the river historically drove pioneers mad. Nowadays, this part of the trail requires water caches.

Learn more here! 

Alpine lakes and pine forests await exploration. Wolves and elk call this region home, snowcapped peaks tower above the trail. Loose gravel, rugged peaks, and a pristine wilderness awaits any hiker who enters.

Learn About the Sawtooth Wilderness

Idaho’s remote interior is the largest unbroken temperate forest in the world. The Frank Church River of No-Return makes up the longest roadless hiking section of the trail. Only a single lane dirt road separates the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness, this is as wild as it gets. 

Discover True Wilderness in the Frank!

While it may not be officially designated wilderness, the roadless areas in North Idaho continue the trail’s wilderness legacy. Nearing Canada, the panhandle boats the largest inland temperate rainforest in the world. 

North Idaho Beauty Awaits

Turning east, the WWT follows the Pacific Northwest Trail east across the Crown of the Continent. Enter one of the most intact ecosystems on the continent, relatively unchanged since Lewis and Clark passed through. 

Conquer America’s Wilderness

One of the most popular National Parks in the country, explore the backcountry to find solitude regardless of the crowds. Walk the Continental Divide Trail south, through grizzly country.

Grizzlies and Glaciers

Nearly as large as Idaho’s wilderness, “the Bob” features nearly 3 million square miles of roadless territory. Navigate through the best grizzly territory in the lower 48 while enjoying backcountry camping with few visitors.

The Wild West on Full Display

Rural Montana offers plenty of rivers and mountain ranges to explore. Walk the same wildlife corridors that connect Glacier National Park to Yellowstone. Open spaces are on full display as the trail marches southward.

Where the Antelope Roam

Bison, wolves, bears, antelope – North America’s premier big game sighting takes place here. Hot springs, geysers, even petrified wood are features of the trail. From Yellowstone to the Tetons, see the backcountry of America’s favorite places.

The Wild West Trail Terminus

TOTAL MILEAGE

Total Mileage Through Grizzly Bear Territory

Total Mileage of Undeveloped Areas

Bison grazing on a hill in Yellowstone National Park
Bison grazing on a hill in Yellowstone National Park

SUPPORTING THE WILD WEST TRAIL

The Wild West Trail is a culmination of ideas, hikes, and most of all, people. Each section of the trail has been pioneered by rugged individuals looking to experience the American backcountry. The WWT would not be possible without previous hikers, gracefully stepping where few have gone before.

It is the ambition of this website and organization to create a funding mechanism that can create a sustainable source of revenue around the WWT and trails it follows. 

We are providing a service to bury water caches in the Owyhee desert for Idaho Centennial Trail and Wild West Trail thru-hikers.

Looking across the web, the outdoor movement is a fast growing phenomenon. Long distance hiking in the past few years has exploded in popularity. Hikes like the Pacific Crest Trail are so flooded with people that some are discussing ways to control the crowds.

With so much interest being focused on our beautiful public lands, creating a new trail provides another outlet for the backpacking community.

Incorporating modern marketing techniques, cutting edge content creation, and tapping into the growing popularity of backpacking, the potential to have a popular thru-hike that helps alleviates the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest trail of crowds is a real possibility.

Supporting the trail in monetary terms is how we keep this website operational and trail maps updated. While the WWT is still in its infancy, there is potential to achieve tangible, real world results.

night sky over Big Bend National Park

Logistically, burying water before a thru-hike is an impossible task for most hikers. It requires a 4×4 vehicle, or in this case, an off-road capable motorcycle.  Many miles from the nearest pavement, the expedition alone is a multi-day one. It is our belief, that if we can organize water drops, hikers will come.

This all ties into the main theme of this website, to present the Wild West Trail as an accessible route. Because the trail is such a new idea, we plan to take full advantage of communication technology and build the brand through the internet.

Previous trails took decades to accrue enough knowledge to make hiking accessible for everyone.  With modern tools, we can now disseminate information virtually instantly.

Planning a long distance hike is no longer a pipe dream for the very few. It has become an activity for everyone, all ages, sexes, and race. And the Wild West Trail is here to introduce an entire generation of Americans to the wildest corner of their country.

Supporting the trail is easy to do and we have created a myriad of options for all those interested.

Support the Trail

  • Shop. We will be selling GPX downloads and guidebooks of the trail! Check out some of the other trails we have available. 

 

  • Monetizing content. All videos will be monetized in hopes of accumulating enough views to cycle profits back into the website, maps, and trail. If you do use adblock, we would appreciate you pausing it for our stuff! Don’t worry, we don’t put ads inside the video, only at the beginning.

 

  • Affiliate Marketing.  We look forward to providing ample links to gear recommendations for your own thru-hike. Any purchases made from a link that is shared through wildwesttrail.co will earn the WWT a certain commission. If you are in the market for some gear, check out some of our reviews and lists.

As new opportunities present themselves, we will be incorporating them if they make sense with the overall purpose of the WWT. That being said, we are open to new ideas and if you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact us here. 

 

What is the Wild West?

 

To understand the importance of wilderness, we must understand the western frontier and its place in American culture. The settlement of America’s “Wild West” and its legacy has penetrated deep into the psyche of all Americans. The rugged individual, frontier families, and the taming of the wilderness, all have a place in modern society.

The nostalgia for the West releases the inner desires of all people to be free.

Free from having to live a life dictated by other people, free to make your own way. Free from a tyrannical government, free from being told how to live.

Wide open spaces and untamed wilderness were as much a part of the Wild West as were the people who settled it. There were no dams, factories, slums, and cities, it was wide open and ready for new settlers.

Of course, we cannot mention the Wild West without acknowledging Native Americans and their place on the continent. As white settlers pushed ever westward, Native Americans were quickly being eradicated, with force.

The settlement of the frontier ended by the late 1800’s but the ambition and dream of the Wild West lives on. There are few stories more readily passed down through American society than that of the Wild West.

 

Dreams of Wilderness

 

Almost every other country on Earth does not have wilderness areas. Europe, India, China, all of the largest population centers, none have what we do in America. The lands of North America are still under-populated and the open space it affords allows us to continue lifestyles focused on individualism.

As our population continues to grow, we become increasingly separated from the benefits of the wilderness. Large urban areas expand and the distance to a night sky unaffected by light pollution is ever growing. Our highways continue to widen as our wild and open spaces continue to shrink.

But the dream of wilderness lives on. Even with the rate of development and growth, conservation movement and idea of wild, open spaces, does not die.

We are one of the few if only, countries that have collectively set aside millions of acres of land, for the sole purpose of enjoying the solitude it offers. We can hunt, fish, recreate, and still practice being free people. It is the privilege of being an American that lets us experience clean air and clean water, free from crowded cities.

There is no more unexplored territory on this planet. No more dark spots on the map, no undiscovered mountain peaks. But what we do have is a uniquely American invention. We have cleared the land of people. Prevented settlements and economic systems from taking hold.

The wilderness, as we know it, is an invention by Americans, for Americans. And it is quite possibly the most delightful and important feature of our culture.

Man and woman, old and young, from any racial and ethnic background, is able to experience the land without the pressures and constraints of the modern world. All of us can experience a simpler way of life, if only for a short amount of time.

Almost nowhere else could a 2,000-mile trail offer such remote beauty.

The Wild West Trail is named after the emotion of the American West. The ideals of freedom, liberty, and independence that drew the original settlers west can still be found on the hike. Enjoy the increasingly rare and precious resources we have, open space, clean air, and clean water.

The WWT encapsulates what makes the wilderness so captivating and provides a backpacking trail of no equal.

  • The farther one gets in the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of its lonely freedom

    Theodore Roosevelt

    President of the United States of America

  • If you look throughout human history … the central epiphany of every religious tradition always occurs in the wilderness

    Robert Kennedy

    US Attorney General

  • The great purpose is to set aside a reasonable part of the vanishing wilderness, to make certain that generations of Americans yet unborn will know what it is to experience life on undeveloped, unoccupied land in the same form and character as the Creator fashioned it

    Frank Church

    Idaho Senator

  • In a civilization which requires most lives to be passed amid inordinate dissonance, pressure and intrusion, the chance of retiring now and then to the quietude and privacy of sylvan haunts becomes for some people a psychic necessity. It is only the possibility of convalescing in the wilderness which saves them from being destroyed by the terrible neural tension of modern existence

    Bob Marshall

    American Forester and Pioneer of the Wilderness Movement

  • The farther one goes, the less one knows

    Tao Te Ching