Deer Creek Trail #45

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Deer Creek Trail #45

Hiking Trail

Deer Creek Trail #45

by: Honza
Location:  Payson, AZ          Longitude:  -111.3697    Latitude:  34.0371
A peaceful, creek canyon trail through the Mazatzal Wilderness.
Features and Interests:   Abandoned structures; grave site
Flora/Fauna on this Trail:
NOTE: This is an in and out trail. Depending on the season, you might be forced to turn around early due to the trail disappearing/creek being flooded by the snow-melt water.

The entire trail rises gently throughout the trek. Within the first half mile you will intersect the Gold Ridge Trail #47 and South Fork Trail #46. Continue on the Deer Creek Trail which passes through a gate and descends to Deer Creek in another half mile. The trail follows the creek, but unfortunately most of the riparian areas have been destroyed by fire so the trail is rather exposed.

After 3.2 miles, you will encounter the David Cowan grave site, which is surrounded by a nice riperian area and creek access. You can even choose to camp here as there are plenty of nice spots for a night stay.

At around 3.4 miles you will the Mazatzal Wilderness where the trail narrows and presents numerous creek crossings. There are too many to count, but the trail does follow the creek bed in many places and the trail finding factor does increase. Keep an eye out for the next cairn!

The trail keeps climbing and after 7 or so miles eventually enters a ponderosa forest and junctions with the Davey Gowan Trail #48. Keep right and the trail switchbacks over the next mile, ending in a parking lot at Forest Road 201.

You can either return the same way or walk down the FR 201 returning via South Fork or Gold Ridge Trails.
Trail Distance:  17 miles round-trip
Elevation:  3210ft - 5610ft   (change 2400ft)
Trail Difficutly:  Moderate - requires some endurance, elevation changes
How Crowded:  Solitude
Season:  October to April
Accomodations: (on site)   CampingTake the AZ-101 south the Shea Blvd. Make a left onto east Shea Blvd, and in 11 miles make a left at the AZ-87 Beeline Highway junction. Stay on Beeline Hwy for about 45 miles until you reach the AZ-188 intersection marked as Deer Creek Trail. Make a left and proceed across the highway to the parking area.Good dirt road, off-road vehicle not needed.
Trail Ratings and Comments