Wednesday, December 4, 2019

A Complete Guide to the Deseret Hiking Route

The Deseret Hiking Route (DHR) is a roughly 1,000-mile route through the heart of the American West. It begins on the Utah/Arizona border and runs north through Utah and southern Idaho before terminating in the Sawtooth Mountains of central Idaho. The DHR is a route chock-full of world-class beauty and offers the prospective hiker the opportunity to explore amazing and oft-overlooked landscapes. The DHR is designed to be hiked as either a standalone route, or in conjunction with the Arizona Trail and Idaho Centennial Trail from Mexico to Canada. The DHR is completely unmarked and undesignated by any state or federal agency. For the experienced long-distance hiker, one who takes responsibility for their own route choices, personal safety, and happiness, I can think of few extant routes that can deliver the kind of satisfaction that the DHR offers.

After many months of work, I'm pleased to make available a complete guide for the DHR, including maps, GPS files, descriptions, resupply tips, and more. This is all available free of charge at the link below. 

Fast Facts:

  • Southern Terminus: Stateline Trailhead, Arizona
  • Northern Terminus: Alturas Lake Creek, Idaho
  • Length: 1,000 miles (approximate)
  • Hiking surface: 
    • 50% singletrack trail
    • 40% dirt road (ranging from faint jeep tracks to well-graded roads)
    • 5% cross-country
    • 5% paved roads
  • Highlights:
    • Paria Canyon
    • Bryce Canyon National Park
    • Wasatch Mountains
    • Pioneer Mountains
History of the Route:

As of this writing in 2019, three hikers (to my knowledge) have hiked the length of Utah, all as part of larger treks through the intermountain west: Pepperflake (2016) , Dirtmonger (2019), and me (2019). All of us planned our routes independently and ended up taking different routes through the state.

My goal with the DHR was not only to piece together a beautiful route, but one that I could responsibly share with others. This means paying special attention to walking on sustainable surfaces, respecting property rights, and a whole host of other considerations. The result is something so beautiful, so special, and so captivating that I can't help but share it. The Deseret Hiking Route is a true gem, by far the most rewarding route I've ever walked.

Extending the Route:

The DHR was consciously designed to tie into other established long-distance hiking trails on either end: the Arizona Trail (AZT) in the south and the Idaho Centennial Trail (ICT) in the north. The combined AZT-DHR-ICT (collectively, the Route In Between, or RIB) offers hikers the opportunity to walk from Mexico to Canada through oft-overlooked terrain. In my opinion, it's a route that's just as spectacular as any of the "big three" triple crown trails, albeit a little rougher around the edges. You can read more about my personal journey on the RIB here.

So where's the Guide?

Click here. The guide is currently about 20 pages long, so grab a cup of coffee and get ready to dig in. The guide contains instructions for downloading all the planning materials you will need for your own hike of the DHR, including a resupply planner, custom maps, a data book, and GPX file. And yes, it's all 100% free. This project is my way of giving back to the hiking community. Enjoy!

Questions? Happy to answer them. You can leave a comment here or email me (contact information is listed in the Guide). 


  1. This is an amazing gift Larry, well done and thank you for sharing!!

  2. Very cool, thanks for the hard work and dedication to put this together (much less making it public).

  3. Geezer. Thanks for the work. People like you keep the excitement going. Finished the AzT in October last. Maybe I'll head north on your route instead of going the CDT. TRUDGE ON.