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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Davey Gowan Trail #48, AZ

no permit
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Guide 4 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Payson W
2 of 5 by 1
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance One Way 1.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,127 feet
Elevation Gain -1,378 feet
Accumulated Gain 28 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 1.99
Backpack Connecting Only
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8  2018-09-06 MountainMatt
30  2017-05-20
Deer Creek Loop
30  2010-11-01
Davey Gowan Loop
Author jacobemerick
author avatar Guides 31
Routes 71
Photos 795
Trips 96 map ( 1,037 miles )
Age 34 Male Gender
Location Gilbert, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Sep
Sun  6:13am - 6:24pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Alternate Route to Gowan Camp
by jacobemerick

Likely In-Season!
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.

Water Sources
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.

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2017-05-24 jacobemerick

    One-Way Notice
    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.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Review
    Davey Gowan Trail #48
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Deer Creek Loop
    Inspired by a recent read (John Alcock's 'After the Wildfire') I decided it was time to visit the Deer Creek area. Plus I needed to finish up a chunk of the Mazatzal Divide Trail, which is like right there.

    Deer Creek #45
    The first four miles of this is a breeze. Everything is well trimmed and easy to follow, and even the gravesite has also been cleaned up. Things start to get hairy after 4.5 miles. The trail begins to criss-cross the creek, with massive cairns to mark the crossings, though the actual paths on the banks are not always easy to pick up. Ivy and deadfall complicate things. It's not terrible, just something to be aware of. Gowan Camp is pleasant and there were a few stagnant ponds in the creek to pull from. The last section from the camp up to Peeley trailhead is much easier.

    Mazatzal Divide #23 (Peeley :next: Bear Springs)
    Oh man, the views. Kept tripping over my jaw this whole time. Plus the stands of pines spared from wildfire behind Peeley... This was heavenly. As usual, the AZT was easy to follow and a cruise to hike. Recent maintenance has been done around the Bear Springs area (and it looks great!).

    Deer Creek Connector
    This was my first dedicated off-trail section in the Mazzies and it could have been worse. The creek starts off rocky and easy to follow, eventually gaining deadfall and thorny brush and sharp drops. There was some plastic tubing along/buried in the rocky bed that was confusing... Did one of the ranches pull water from Bear Spring at some point? Or maybe a leftover from Gowan Camp? Also a lot of bear sign and some game trails on the banks that looked too good to be game trails...

    Aside: I ended up setting up camp along this 'connector', about 1/2 mile from Gowan. Couldn't pass up an idyllic cascade and some perfectly spaced trees for the hammock. Anyways, had a visitor of the bear-kind in the middle of the night that made for some heart-pounding entertainment. One of these days I'll get smart enough to bring a weapon/mace along, until then I'll just have to use my charming demeanor and quick wit to keep the wildlife from eating me.

    Davey Gowan #48
    Must have been fantastic back in the day. Finding the start from Deer Creek Trail is easy thanks to a few blazes (thanks @Grasshopper!) and the tread is still very defined, if a bit narrow. First half mile is beautiful, then the burn area takes over and there is deadfall, washouts, and rampant brush to deal with. Not the worst Mazzie trail - the tread sticks around, even if you have to crawl around to find it.

    Gold Ridge #47
    My initial plan was to take South Fork down, but after dealing with thorny stuff in Deer Creek and Davey Gowan I just didn't want to earn any more stripes. So I figured Gold Ridge might be easier. And it was, almost too easy. Manzanita was beat back to a respectable distance and the views were great. Easy way to finish the weekend.

    Mazatzal Miles: 109.2/275 (39.7%)

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    page created by joebartels on May 24 2017 10:04 am
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