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Read the Experience Arizona Disclaimer before attempting any of our adventures. Check with local authorities (FS, BLM, etc.) before heading out on any adventures for updates road conditions, closures, etc.

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Name: Deer Creek Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: Not rated yet
Type: 4WD Difficulty: (Semi-maintained dirt road)
Time: 1 - 2 hours Region: NW Arizona
Length: 2.3 miles (one way) Elevation gain/loss/change: +137 / -255 ft / -118 ft (one way)
Type: Out and back (or loop) Avg Elevation: 9000 ft
Best time to go: summer, fall, spring Fees: NA
Fitness rating: Low Educational Merit: Low
Danger/fear rating: Low Scenic Beauty: High
Hours of Operation: NA Last updated: July, 2004
Short Description: One of the best camping spots in the White Mountains (that I've been too).
Geocaches:Tons of cool geocaches around. Here's just a few. Lookout Below; Johny Cache; Fallen Tree
References / Contact Information: Rainbow Campground at Big Lake; White Mountains;
Points of interest: Great dispersed camping spot, beautiful scenery, Big Lake, Big Lake Lookout, places to hike, bike and fish nearby.
Special Considerations: Road closed for winter.
How to get there: The trail starts near Big Lake in the White Mountains. There are many different ways to Big Lake. I usually go through Sunrise, but you can come down 261 from Eager (mostly paved, but longer). Continue on the dirt road after the Big Lake Campground turnoff. Trail starts at the intersection of FR249 and FR249E. Click here for directions.

Trail Description

NOTE: This trail has been closed due to the Wallow Fire. Please check with Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest for more information. This trail is provided for informational purposes only. This fire was a SAD day for Arizona.

This is short, semi-maintained dirt road that leads to one of the best dispersed camping spots in the White Mountains that I know of. This area offers great hiking, mountain biking and places to fish nearby. We have also seen elk come drink at the creek on an almost nightly basis. This spot can fill up quickly on weekends.

From this area, you can fish the Black River (about 30 minutes away), hike or bike the Indian Springs trail (about 15 minutes away), or visit Big Lake (where you can fish or rent a boat).

General Information and History

The White Mountains are rich in Indian and pioneer history. The area was inhabited by ancestors of the Hopi and possibly Pueblo Indians. Miners, loggers and ranches came to this area because of its plentiful natural resources. There are many historical sites and museums in the area you can visit.

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The Trail

From the intersection of FR249 and FR249E, keep straight on FR249. After 1.3 miles, take a left on the two track (Waypoint 002). Then keep right on the main trail. Follow it until you reach Waypoint 003. Right around here is a great place to camp, with a pond and views down the grassy meadow.

You can also follow the trail to Waypoint 004 (though last time I visited the area, I would have rated this portion of the trail a 1.5). There are a few ways to go here which are not shown on the map (though a few are shown in yellow). I spent a couple days exploring these trails (before the days that I had a GPS). Most were easy 4WD at the worst and a few led to some interesting places.

One of which is the Big Lake Lookout Tower (Waypoint 007). If you're not afraid of heights and the ranger is present, you can climb the stairs to the top of the tower. The 360 degree views are incredible. I would also recommend hiking a small portion of the trail that leads down the knoll to Indian springs (green trail). There's some nice boulders and places to climb out on near the top of the trail.

Whatever you do, take some time to explore the area, you'll be glad you did.

Have fun and be safe.

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