Expect and Prepare

Water Caches are necessary for a successful crossing. Please contact us here if you are planning a thru-hike spring 2018.

Extreme heat with no shade. 

Avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day. 

Through the Owyhee Desert

 

Leaving the Jarbidge mountains, the Wild West Trail meets up with the Idaho Centennial Trail in the Owyhee Desert. Dry, hot, and devoid of people, this section requires water drops.

Water caches are highly recommended along this route. Please contact the Wild West Trail if you plan on hiking either the WWT or ICT spring 2018 and check for water availability.

Interestingly enough, large sections of the trail follow the edge of the Bruneau-Jarbidge canyon. Looking down, the river is turbulent and offers a maddingly far away sight of water.

When hiking this section, be wary of intense heat and the lack of water. It is recommended to hike the desert during the spring, before the heat of the summer.

 

Owyhee Desert History

 

If you look at Idaho on the map, you will notice a crescent shaped valley, in which, the snake river flows. This feature was was created by the Yellowstone Supervolcano. As the North American plate has moved, the hot spot has erupted, creating a trough through the landscape.

This section of the trail goes through what is known as the Bruneau-Jarbidge caldera. The sight of a Supervolcano eruption, some 11 million years ago

Another interesting feature of the landscape is how the desert got its name.

In 1819, native Hawaiians sailed to the American Northwest to take part in a fur trading expedition. At this time, Hawaii was spelled Owyhee, and the people of this island chain known as Owyhees. The Hawaiians left the British expedition, and ended up dying. In their memory, the river, and eventually desert and mountain range was named Owyhee.

 

Flatland and Sagebrush to the Horizon 

 

The desert offers flat hiking with scenic views for miles. Following the Eastern edge of Juneau-Jarbidge canyon, the Jarbidge river can be glimpsed below. Rattlesnakes, cattle, and the pronghorn antelope call this region home.

The trail eventually crosses the Snake River as it marches north, to the Sawtooth Mountains.

Owyhee Desert Trail Section map: Coming Fall 2018

Wild West Trail Map picture