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Davey Gowan Loop, AZ

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209 16 4
Guide 16 Triplogs  1 Active Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson W
2.8 of 5 by 5
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Difficulty 4.5 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance Loop 5.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,130 feet
Elevation Gain -1,456 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,500 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4-5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 13
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Collective Slideshow
10  2018-08-26 kelly14
30  2017-05-20
Deer Creek Loop
1  2016-02-14 shellmer
8  2010-12-05 easytec
20  2010-11-01 gpsjoe
30  2010-11-01 Grasshopper
18  2009-08-22 easytec
27  2009-05-24 Grasshopper
Page 1,  2
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Sep → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  7:30am - 5:43pm
Route Scout App
Official Route
1 Alternative
Nearby Area Water
Davey Gowan Trail #48
Davey Gowan Trail #48
0.0 mi away
1.9 mi
28 ft
Peak 6340 Mazatzals
0.5 mi away
1.0 mi
6,340 ft
Camp Grasshopper - Mazatzal Main C/Site
Camp Grasshopper - Mazatzal Main C/Site
0.8 mi away
8.8 mi
2,105 ft
Sheep Mountain Peak 6996 - Mazatzal
Sheep Mountain Peak 6996 - Mazatzal
1.1 mi away
8.6 mi
2,800 ft
Peak 7105 - Mazatzals
1.1 mi away
Peak 7260 - Mazatzals
1.1 mi away
Peak 7388 - Mazatzals
1.1 mi away
Peak 7403 - Mazatzals
1.1 mi away
Peak 7455 - Mazatzals
1.1 mi away
Peak 7592 - Mazatzals
1.1 mi away
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Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Basecamp for the high Mazatzals
by PrestonSands

The Davey Gowan loop hike makes use of the Davey Gowan Trail, Deer Creek Trail, and forest road 201. This hike passes near the old "Gowan Camp" homestead, named for David Gowan.

David Gowan was an early Payson area pioneer, and the first settler at Tonto Natural Bridge on Pine Creek in 1882. In 1916, seeking solitude, Gowan settled on upper Deer Creek in the Mazatzal Mountains, where he built a log cabin, planted a garden and an orchard, and mined some silver claims. Gowan died in 1924 while hiking out of his homestead, and was buried at the intersection of Deer Creek Canyon and Bars Canyon.

The Davey Gowan Trail (trail 48) begins at a hairpin curve along forest road 201, where there is a small parking area and a forest service trail marker. Most of this trail is overgrown, and can be difficult to find in places. Route finding skills and the ability to read a topographical map are helpful. The Davey Gowan trail begins by following a forested ridge northeast, until it reaches a small saddle about a half mile in. The trail passes in and out of areas burned by the Willow Fire, and will do so for the rest of the loop. However, except for the bottom of Deer Creek canyon, the fire wasn't too severe in this area of the Mazatzals. Below the saddle, the trail starts to switchback, and begins a 1000 foot drop through the fir trees down the southern slope of Deer Creek canyon. There are some great views along here of a couple unnamed peaks towering 3000 feet above the canyon floor. As the Davey Gowan Trail starts to level out, it rounds a corner and passes a small spring. Along here, the trail is a one foot wide, barely visible shelf on a shady hillside. I found it amazing that there would be a dense douglas fir forest growing at 4800 feet (same elevation as the top of the Flatiron).

Near the bottom of Deer Creek canyon, I stumbled onto the junction with the Deer Creek Trail (trail 45). If you take the Deer Creek Trail right (down canyon), you will soon come to the site of Gowan Camp. There is little left to see here: a few rock foundations buried in the bushes, and some broken pieces of china. However, the large grassy meadow makes a nice place to rest or camp.

Continuing on from the trail junction, the Deer Creek Trail heads up canyon through the charred skeletons of once mighty trees. The trail is a little hard to follow until it starts to climb the hillside along the south side of the creek. There were some small pools of water in the bedrock of the creek bed in this area, as the trail left the worst of the burned area behind. Now the trail began to get steeper, and switchbacks were once again encountered, as the Deer Creek Trail began its final push back to the road. On top, at the Mount Peeley trailhead, I took a short break, then headed east on forest road 201. This last segment, although a road, sees very little traffic and passes through some more nice wooded hillsides. I followed the narrow road for a mile and a half back to my waiting truck, enjoying the great views and cool breeze.

    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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To Gowan Trailhead
    Take state highway 87 east to signed turnoff for Sycamore Creek about 0.5 miles north of mile post 222 (near Maricopa/ Gila County line). Turn left across divided highway and follow paved road to dirt road on right at 1.2 miles. Cross the cattleguard and go 1.2 miles to the fork of forest road 25 and forest road 201. Veer right and follow forest road 201 to the trail 48 marker (brown fiberglass post, about 9 miles total from highway).

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 69.9 mi, 1 hour 43 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 167 mi, 3 hours 13 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 150 mi, 3 hours 11 mins
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