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Alternate Route to Gowan Camp
An alternate descent (instead of Deer Creek #45) from FR 201 to Gowan Camp. Can be paired with Deer Creek Trail to make a fantastic loop.
This trail was heavily damaged by the Willow Fire of '04. There is deadfall, overgrowth, and dangerous washouts to navigate. Only a few pleasant sections of hiking can be found along the route.
There is a small pull-off on FR 201 about 1.5 miles before Peeley Trailhead. This is the trailhead, even if there is no sign or marking for the start. A small footpath heads east from the pull-off and weaves around various bushes, slowly dropping down the top of a ridgeline. There is plenty of deadfall and overgrowth in this section, so just try to avoid dropping too far in either direction. Near 0.4 miles the tread twists left off the ridge and enters a nice stand of pines with well-defined tread.
Beyond the stand of pines is another drop, this time a steep 400' through manzanita with plenty of switchbacks. The trail is better defined here, as long as one doesn't accidentally follow one of the side drainages instead. Before 0.9 the switchbacks stop and the trail turns west, still dropping as it flows along the side of the hill. There are several washouts here that require careful going, and thick overgrowth will make crawling easier than trying to push through. At 1.2 miles, where the deepest cut forces the trail to sweep south, there may be water found far below the trail's crossing.
On the far side of the deepest southern cut the trail improves. West of 1.5 miles was spared from the fire damage and is downright pleasant. Tread is a bit narrow here along a steep hillside so watch your step as you enjoy the easy going under tall pines. Trail ends on Deer Creek Trail a short distance above Gowan Camp. Turn sharp right (east) to visit the old camp or continue straight (west) to head up the easier climb to Peeley Trailhead.
There are a few drainages along the lower mile that may be seeping water, depending on the time of year. Otherwise there may be water in Deer Creek near Gowan Camp.
Gowan Camp seems to be a decent place to camp. There are few flat sections along Davey Gowan Trail for a site.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.