Sunday, April 18, 2021

Deseret Hiking Route - 2021 Updates are Available

I am happy to announce that the second generation of the Deseret Hiking Route (DHR) information pack - Version 2021 - is now available. Its updates represent a significant improvement over the old route, in my opinion. They were developed as a result of recent hiker feedback, along with my own scouting missions and another year of staring at maps. Highlights of the updated route include:

  • Better, ground-verified route across Boulder Mountain (Section 3).
  • Large-scale re-routes in the Pocatello area (Section 9), resulting in easier logistics, more water, more snacks, and less pavement.
  • Several improvements in the Pioneer Range (Section 11) - more trail, less road, and more beautiful mountain scenery.
  • Clarified and greatly expanded GPX file (though not a full track!)
  • Many new alternate routes, many of which may eventually become the new Red Route, depending on hiker feedback.
  • Multitudes of "little improvements" here and there - mile markers on the maps, simplified naming conventions, dozens of new data points, etc.
  • New, less confusing verbiage around Public (for anybody) vs Private (gotta do your trail work!) resources.
This is also a good place to say thanks. I've been floored by the hiking community's enthusiasm for the route thus far. For those who've taken the time out of your day to read the guide, to ask a question, or suggest an update... thank you!

And if you've been on the fence about the DHR, now's a great time to revisit the question. If you've been meaning to ask for the resources but keep forgetting, it's time to drag that email out of your drafts folder and send it. If you've been procrastinating your trail work day, I encourage you to call your local hiking club and ask about opportunities. As spring turns to summer and our mass vaccination campaign continues at full tilt, there will be more and more opportunities to give back to the trails that we love so much. Seize the day!


What is the DHR?

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.