Back to index Deer Valley 4WD Trail Hike

Trip Date:  09/22/2017

: 8.0 Miles

Vertical Gain: 800'

Group Size: 1

Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard    Strenuous
Deer Valley Route
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Deer Valley Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 36.573, W 119 55.510     End Coordinates:   Same as Start Coordinates  (There is the option of a one-way hike ending up on Highway 4 at the coordinates (N 38 32.274 W 119 53.976.)
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No
Parking Directions:  
Take Highway 88 to Blue Lakes road and turn south.  Follow the road for a little more than 12 miles to the parking area just to the southeast of Lower Blue Lake. 
Hazards of Note:   On weekends this trail might have a number of jeeps and other motorized vehicles (motorcycles and ATVs) riding on it.  Significant amounts of rock along sections of the trail can make for poor footing.  Two large stream crossings which have alternative ways across them, but the second one is a good 1/4 out of the way of the trail.

Crowd Factor:   Moderate.
General Notes:
From the parking area head south across on the road following signs to Meadow Reservoir until you reach the start of the Deer Valley 4WD road off to your left.  There is a large sign here indicating the rules of motorized vehicles on this section of the trail.  For the next mile and a half the trail follows Deer Creek on the right, over sometimes very rough rocks and slightly descending through the forest for the entire section of trail.  A water crossing appears as soon as you hike out of the forest into an open meadow area, and you can either ford the water at this point, or head upstream about 200 feet to find an old, rickety bridge providing a way across the water.  On the other side you will have to pick your way carefully, as there are a lot of areas of reasonably deep (1ft) water hidden in the long grasses of the area.  Pick up the trail again across from where you initially found a jeep crossing of the river, and head another couple miles down the trail, still in the forested section until you come to a second crossing. 
From here, you can find an old signpost at the coordinates of N 38 34.253 W 119 54.945 which is the start of the old and very difficult to follow trail to the Stevenot Camp area about a mile and a half to the west.  Heading almost due south from this point will also provide a rock hop crossing over Deer Creek, which then offers a scramble up granite boulders on the other side and a short walk of only about 2/10 mile back to pick up the Deer Valley Trail continuing on to the south.

The sign you will be looking for at the start of the trail to make sure you are heading along the correct route.
Sign at the start

Only about a quarter mile into the hike, along to the right is a short detour you can take to see a pretty impressive picturesque waterfall.
Raging falls 

This is a very typical section of trail, so careful footing is a must as you walk along rocks just waiting to twist your ankle for you.
Trail condition 

There aren't a lot of wide open vistas on this trail, but the beauty of the area is still all around you.  The early season snowstorm the night before added another dimension to the experience as well.
Nice scenery 

This first meadow at the end of Clover Valley stands in stark contrast to the entire trip up to this point which had been through thick forest.  The water crossing here can be managed heading upstream for a little bit to find a bridge near a campsite sporting a built-in horseshoe pit along with the fire rings scattered around.
First Meadow 

The bridge to keep an eye out for as an alternative to wading through the ice cold water this time of year.
Makeshift bridge

One of the leisuretime activities at this frequently visited jeep camping area.
Horseshoe Pit 

US Forest service workers fixing up some of the area around the second water crossing on the trail.  To the right of the picture is where the old Stevenot Trail begins, as well as an alternative to wading across this part of the river as well.
Work Crew

The crossing of the stream which allows for an alternate way across to continue on the trail to the south.  The snow on the other side of the stream made the scramble up that side a little on the harrowing side on a cold, snow-covered day.
 Alternative way across

Old trail sign post at the start of the Stevenot Camp trail.  The indentation of the old trail is visible, but the trail is difficult to discern any longer, even without snow cover. 

Trying to follow the Stevenot Camp trail for a bit was difficult, but offered some enticing views of the area ahead.
View toward Stevenot Camp

Some of the remnants of the old grazing area from the Stevenot Camp.  A few blazes in the trees were also found, but snow covered any chance of finding any remaining trail.

Another indication of the type of trail for much of the way.  Tough to hike on, but good for keeping erosion damage at a minimum from the jeep traffic which makes its way along this route.
Rocks and rocks

Almost to the trailhead, this view on a cool, crisp morning right after a snowstorm was not to be missed!
Views on the way out

GPS Track of the full hike. GPS Track of Hike