Idaho Boundary Trail Journals


Forging your own path: Creation of the IBT

The Idaho Boundary Trail is 2,500 mile backcountry adventure (if you stick to the “main” route) and was conceived by Yeti and his friend Mike O’Brien in 2012. Affectionately known as the two geezers (they are both older hikers), Yeti and Mike planned the route by studying maps and satellite photos, hiking the route, and tracking it using a GPS. They painstakingly put together a route that would adhere as closely to the border of the state as possible. Idaho is unusual in that its perimeter is mostly public land, affording the hiker a wealth of varied landscapes to explore. The trail zig-zags back and forth across the border, seeking out the most interesting sights.

The IBT is not an official trail and is not supported by any non-profit or state or federal agency. It is the inspired creation of two long-distance hikers who wanted to have a pure wilderness experience and to “hike their own hike.”

Over the next few years, Yeti and Mike refined and changed the IBT as necessary to avoid private property, and to correct routes that were impassable. In some cases, they developed alternate or easier routes that give the hiker choices based on his/her abilities or desire for challenge. They like to call the really monster sections, the “geezer routes,” because the two of them hiked them. They have kept them as the main route. Easier paths are offered for those who are not up to the geezer challenge.

Yeti and Mike decided to start the trail in Clarkston, WA and go counter-clockwise to get through the Owyhee Desert before it gets too hot and to make it through the Selkirks before snow flies up north.

Yeti, a seasoned long-distance backpacker, has hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), Continental Divide Trail (CDT) and the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT) among others. He considers the IBT to be even more of a challenge than any of these other trails, because large sections of the IBT are unmaintained, unfinished, and just downright rugged. But, for those who enjoyed “embracing the brutality” of the CDT, it is the next step up, and a magnificent 2,500 mile journey.

Mike O’Brien & I (Yeti) created the Idaho Boundary Trail (IBT) and first started hiking it in 2012. I had to drop out due to severe sun stroke that year but Mike did the entire hike.
In 2013 I (Yeti) hiked 1750 miles of the IBT but tripped hiking at night & ended up with a serious concussion. It took me two days o hike out vomiting and seeing double, but I got out.
Mike hiked the IBT again in 2014.
Then, in 2016 I finally finished the trail with Melanie Simmerman (Lemstar). Melanie did the entire trail in 2016. You can visit the trail journals below:

Mike O’Brien’s Idaho Boundary Trail Journal 2012
Yeti’s Idaho Boundary Trail Journal 2013
Mike O’Brien’s Idaho Boundary Trail Journal 2014
Yeti’s Idaho Boundary Trail Journal 2016
Melanie’s Idaho Boundary Trail Journal 2016