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Blue Mountains Trail Backpacking & Thru-Hiking Guide

Originally conceived in 1960 and finally launched in November 2020, the 565-mile Blue Mountains Trail (BMT) is Oregon’s newest long trail. Leaving Wallowa Lake State Park near Joseph, it forms a spiral on its way to the finish in John Day, passing through the ancestral lands of the Nez Perce, Confederated Tribes of Umatilla, and Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. It connects 7 wilderness areas, 1 national recreation area, and 3 national forests through incredibly diverse terrain and ecosystems.

The Blue Mountains Trail is remote, providing outstanding views and a true wilderness experience. The hiking trail avoids towns and heavily traveled roads, which can complicate resupply but results in a true sense of solitude.

The BMT is a work in progress. Naomi Hudetz, Mike Unger, and Whitney LaRuffa thru-hiked the BMT in September 2020.  Renee Patrick hiked the entire route in two sections in August and October 2020.  Our efforts were intended to “ground-truth” an initial route.  Based on our feedback and the feedback from others involved in the route, the Great Hells Canyon Council (GHCC) has updated the route. However, the route is not complete.  There will continue to be updates and alternative routes added in the future.  Check with the GHCC (and become a member) for the most current maps and databook.

The BMT is also a great trail for section hiking. The individual sections can be great 3-7 backpacking trips.

Find more tips & tricks for backpacking the Blue Mountains Trail written by Mike Unger & Naomi Hudetz & Whitney La Ruffa here.

LAST UPDATED

May 6, 2022

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MEDIA MENTIONS

While DEET products may be more familiar by name and their chemical smell, sprays with 20 percent picaridin, like Sawyer Products, offer comparable protection without the harsh odor and oily feeling on your skin.

Kevin Brouillard
Travel & Leisure

MEDIA MENTIONS

The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

Halfway Anywhere
Media Mentions from Halfway Anywhere

MEDIA MENTIONS

SAWYER MINI WATER FILTER, $22 This has been my water filter of choice for years now. The bags can be iffy — I have had a few break – so carry a couple. However, the filter itself is reliable, light and inexpensive. -Logan

Bikepacking Team