Deer Creek Trail #158: Deer Creek Road is closed to four-wheeled vehicles west of its intersection with Wolftone Road.
Be mindful that portions of your route will be through burned areas. Beware of falling trees and limbs, rolling rocks and flash floods. Watch the weather and stay out if the forecast is for stormy weather or high winds. Trees come down all the time in a burned forest, winds or not, and despite the best efforts of the FS Trail Crew, and area volunteers, some trees may be down along your intended route.
Trails in the Deer Creek region are more rugged and removed than some other offerings in the valley, and accessing them takes a good deal of effort. Deer Creek Road was washed out during flooding in the spring of 2017. The KRD Road and Trail Crew is working on repairs at this time (Sept., 2017). Avoid using the road while the repairs are underway. If you must use the Deer Creek Road expect delays and watch for crews and equipment at work. Travel with care and proceed with caution.
The Deer Creek Trail climbs through light-forest and areas of the burn. Down low, it largely stays along the riparian creek bottom, gaining elevation more abruptly to get above stream-side bank failures, or to get around other natural obstacles. Climbing up the drainage the trail becomes more tight and technical with sharp climbs, rock outcroppings, and places where a wrong move could mean a tumble into the creek.
The trail is demanding as a climb. Descending on the trail is not easy either. The rocky, technical sections may be relatively easy for those on foot, but they form challenges for two-wheeled travel, or for hoofed-travel.
Linking the Deer Creek Trail #158 to the North Fork Deer Creek Trail #157 creates a loop of about 11 miles. Many mountain bikers prefer to do the loop counter-clockwise, but others like the very demanding, technical character of the climb up the main Deer Creek. It all depends on what you're looking for.
Directions: Note: Due to recent flooding, at this time (Sept., 2017), Deer Creek Road is gated closed to four-wheeled vehicles west of its intersection with Wolftone Road. To access the Deer Creek Trail you can follow Deer Creek Road for 8 miles to the intersection of Deer Creek Road and Wolftone Road. There is room to park one or two vehicles near the intersection, and more parking space available up Wolftone Road. (Never block access to any road or trail when parking a vehicle in an area with limited parking. Think of others who may follow you in. They may need to get past you, or they may need to room to turn-around and/or park.) Once parked, you can pass around the gate closing Deer Creek Road on foot or bike. Head west up Deer Creek Road to find the start of Deer Creek Trail.
Alternatively, you can come in along the Greenhorn trail system - Take Greenhorn Tr., to Howard's, drop on Howard's to N. Fork Deer Creek Trail, climb up N. Fork Deer Creek Tr., to gain access to the top of Deer Creek Trail.
(The following directions are for when the Deer Creek Road was previously open to the Deer Creek Picnic Area. It is now open only to Wolftone for four-wheeled vehicles.) At the intersection of Hwy. 75 and Deer Creek Road, take the paved Deer Creek Road west. (This intersection is about 2 miles north of Hailey, and about 9 miles south of Ketchum). Travel safely and slowly through the neighborhood to cross the bridge over the Big Wood River. The road turns to gravel after about 3 miles.
From the highway it's about 10.3 miles to the end of the Deer Creek Road at the FS Deer Creek Picnic Area. (FYI - On this site's Google base-map layer, the picnic area is incorrectly identified as "Deer Creek Campground.") There is room to park several vehicles at the road's end, but be sure not to block the road, or the picnic area pull-through. People pulling trailers will need all the room they can get to maneuver through the area upon arrival and departure. There are several picnic table sites in the creek-side willows, and there's a vault toilet at the picnic/parking site.
*For additional descriptions, maps, and information on the history, geology, and wildflowers of the Wood River Valley pick up a copy of Exploring Sun Valley online or find it at one of several local shops.