“With sand underfoot, look for Sand Rock, an interesting geological formation along your path.”
— Renee Patrick
**Please read and understand this disclaimer before hiking the Oregon Desert Trail.
This section traverses the Lost Forest and open sage ridges to the south to arrive at the Christmas Valley Highway. The trail goes around Sand Rock, a most interesting geologic feature in this otherwise open landscape. Winter, spring and fall would be ideal times to hike this section; summer would be very hot. While it is mostly flat with only a few short climbs and descents, the cross-country hiking in sandy soils can be tiring. There is no reliable water in this section.
Need to Know
This is an abbreviated description and only includes references to a few key waypoints (also shown on the map). Section mileages shown here may differ slightly from the ODT guidebook. A full description of the route can be found in the Oregon Desert Trail Guidebook
For more info and to download ALL of the waypoints for the ODT, visit ONDA.org
There is no reliable water in this section. This section combines a series of cross country, and 2-track road walking.
At a fork in BLM route 6141-1-00 (CV111), the ODT enters into pine and juniper forest on the right hand, closed road, which has a couple large boulders to block vehicle access. This decommissioned road makes for great trail walking and after a couple miles, at CV113, the ODT turns southeast off this old road and heads cross-country .7 miles through the scattered pine and juniper toward Sand Rock, the prominent hill seen to the southeast. After about a mile the cross-country route reaches a two-track at the north slope of Sand Rock (CV114). Its worth a short hike to the top for the expansive view of the surrounding landscape and of the ODTwhere a hiker has come from and where the hiker is going. The ODT follows the two-track around the west base of Sand Rock and arrives at an open parking area at the rocks southwest corner. Note: No camping is allowed at this pullout.
Heading southeast from the pullout, the ODT crosses a well-traveled road (CV116) and heads southeast cross-country 1.4 miles through more scattered pine and juniper. The trail gradually transitions out of the live trees into a small, open valley full of the skeletons of these trees ( perhaps the water table dropped too much for these trees to make it here). The trail climbs gently, weaving among the tall sage and arrives at a 3-way junction of two-track roads. Continue straight onto the two-track heading southeast. After a little over 2 miles of following the road the ODT turns to the northeast (CV121) heading cross-country 9.1 miles to climb to the top of a ridge, then resumes the southeast/south travel among the junipers along this ridge. Below this ridge on both sides are low pockets of land that may catch a bit of snow or rain, but this porous soil does not hold water for very long.
The ODT follows this ridge southeast and south for several miles take the easiest route while staying near the ridgeline (trail on the east side of a ridge skirts around a parcel of private land that is directly to the west). From the high points along this ridge are great views to the northwest of the Shifting Sand Dunes Wilderness Study Area, and the general open, flatness of Christmas Valley to the west. The ODT drops down from the ridge and crosses a two-track road at, then climbs gently and curves to the southwest, still cross-country, passing a lone juniper.
The cross-country stretch drops down the west side of the ridge to a two-track road hidden in the sage at the south end of Hansen Valley (CV129). The ODT follows this road south for about a mile then turns west cross-country at CV131 for 1.7 miles (and a possible water cache spot), and heads around the southern edge of a prominent ridge down to the paved Christmas Valley Highway (CV133). The small town of Christmas Valley is about 19 miles to the west on this road, about 25 minutes by vehicle.