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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.


May 6, 2022

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Media Mentions from Treeline Review

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Using our own experience, field-testing, and a meta-review process that takes into account expert opinions and everyday users, we seek to bring you gear review with perspective.

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Fresh drinking water is essential. This water filtration system ensures you will never run out as long as there is a nearby natural water source. It can filter out bacteria, protozoa and microplastics.

Allen Foster


Faster and more efficient than pumping or waiting for chemical treatments, the Sawyer Squeeze System offers on-the-go hydration at a good flow. This product is long-lasting, affordable, reliable, cleanable, and very user-friendly.

Alan Dixon


But Sawyer was way ahead of me — 15 years ahead, to be precise. In 2008, the brand started its Clean Water for All initiative, which provides Sawyer filters to developing countries around the world. And the company spends 90% of its profits funding it.

Shauna Farnell