Deer Creek Loop Trail is a 15.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Payson, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and backpacking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Only had 2 hours to hike this morning. Went in about 3 miles Flowers are blooming. Creek is flowing a little low. A nice morning hike. Will definitely go back and make it a full day. The part I did was pretty moderate.
Myself and a friend did the hike as a one night backpacking trip. I would not recommend doing the full loop as a day hike, the elevation gain and loss combined with the trail conditions (Deer Creek Trail is all but gone in the middle portions) make this a very challenging trek. We did it in spring so it was very green with lots of water flowing in Deer Creek. The loop shown here is actually a combination of two trails (Deer Creek and South Fork). We did a counter clockwise loop but came down Gold Ridge Trail (parallels South Fork but stays on the ridge line). These three trails converge near the top of the mountains at a the AZ trail (dirt road access) and the are plenty of camping spots. This hike is only rated poorly because few people have the skills to keep going past mile 5/6. Be prepaired with a quality top map, to stay a night if you do a loop, and be careful because it is a monster climb in tough terrane.
The trail isn't very well marked along the creek, which when we went was completely dried up. The solitude was nice; we had to turn back 7 miles in because we wasted so much sun looking for the caryns.