Deep Creek Hike

Deep Creek Hike, Fremont National Forest

Hike Rating: Moderate
Hike Length: 4.7 miles roundtrip (variable)
Elevation Gain: 580’
Trailhead Elevation: 5,920’
Best Season: June through September
Driving Access: Any vehicle, with care

Plus Points
• A walk on abandoned forest roads within a pleasant stream canyon
• Stands of old growth ponderosa pine and white fir at streamside
• Scenic vistas, including views of Crane Mountain above timberline
• Showy balsamroot occurs in masses on the hillsides along the trail
• Numerous seeps and wet meadows support wildflowers into late summer
• Good driving access to the trailhead (details below)

Minus Points
• Cows may be present, though their impact appears modest
• Past clearcut logging in the watershed, but riparian corridor is untouched
• Basic orienteering and route-finding skills needed in upper basin

Download (PDF, 623 KB): Photos of Deep Creek Hike
Download (PDF, 480 KB): Topo Map for Deep Creek Hike
Download (GPX, 4 KB): GPS Points for Deep Creek Hike
Download (PDF, 444 KB): Road Map for Deep Creek Hike

Trail Notes
Map of Deep Creek Trail
For the first third mile, the trail follows abandoned Road 018 south along the west side of Deep Creek, through old growth ponderosas, mature cottonwoods and firs. The road then continues west along the creek for about a mile, through dry slopes of balsamroot and lupine. Soon, the valley begins to widen and there are scenic views of the upper watershed, including Crane Mountain above timberline.

At about 1.4 miles (at GPS Point 1), the road begins to veer away from the creek and start steeply uphill. Here, one leaves Road 018 and hikes cross-country to the southwest, traversing across wet seeps, open sagebrush slopes and over two small creeks to reach a sharp switchback on abandoned Road 019 (at GPS Point 2).

The trail then follows Road 019 uphill, through an old, regenerating patch of clearcut pine. After one-quarter mile, the road rejoins the Middle Fork of Deep Creek, then climbs steadily along the stream through verdant wet meadows and immense old growth firs. This road eventually peters out on the hillside alongside the stream, making it a good hike destination.

Road to Trailhead
This hike is located in a remote southern corner of the Warner Mountain range, but driving access is on good gravel roads. From major Road 3915, just where it crosses Deep Creek, turn west on Road 4015. Follow this road for about 0.8 miles and bear right at the Deep Creek Forest Camp. Go 0.3 miles upstream past the campground to a wooden bridge across Deep Creek. Cross the bridge and park on the northwest side. Start the hike on Road 018, following the west bank of the creek upstream to the south.

Camping Options
The closest option is the Deep Creek Forest Camp, just one-third mile downstream from the trailhead, under big cottonwoods on a bench above the stream. Here are 5 free camping sites and a vault toilet, but no potable water supply. The sites are all on one small flat, without much privacy — but the flat is long enough to keep some distance from neighboring campers if the campground is not crowded.

Meadow and creek at the Willow Creek Campground
The next nearest developed campground is the Willow Creek Campground, about 7 driving miles north of the trailhead, off gravel Road 4011. Here are 8 free campsites nestled in a mixed forest of ponderosa and aspen, next to a pleasant meadow and stream. It has two vault toilets, but no drinking water. Each campsite has plenty of privacy and can accommodate almost any size camping rig.

Note: The Dismal Creek Forest Camp, 1.5 miles east of the trailhead off Road 3915, has been decommissioned and no longer has any camping facilities.

Agency Contact: Fremont National Forest, Lakeview District, (541) 947-3334

DISCLAIMER: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, but the authors do not guarantee that it is either current or correct. The reader assumes full responsibility for any use of this information, and is encouraged to contact local federal land agencies to inquire about current conditions before traveling.

Page last updated: 12/24/11