Revive your soul with breathtaking views of pristine alpine lakes. Maybe catch a fish or two!

There is something magical about Deer Creek Lake. The views are amazing, the hike is revitalizing, and the mountain air speaks to your soul. Stars seem to shine brighter here than any other trip you will go on. Out here, it is you and the wild. You will be able to see fish colored with bright cutthroat red from the shore line while occasionally seeing them break the surface during feeding. On a summer Saturday, you will most likely be the only ones camping at the lake, you may only see 1-2 other people who decide to day hike into the lake. Say hello to a public slice of privacy! 

First let's talk about where you will sleep and how you will get there... may be a little important. There are multiple options for setting up a base camp depending on what kind of adventure you are up for.

Option 1) Base Camp at Deer Creek Lake

Park at the trailhead and jump into the almost 3 mile hike up to Deer Creek Lake. On the way up don't forget to turn around and view the beautiful red mountains and valleys below. You will be accompanied to your lakeside campsite by meadows filled with wildflowers and deer. Most of the hike is through open meadows while some of the hike is through shaded woods. The dirt path offers easy footing while you make your 702 ft climb in elevation. A creek will wind through your hiking path a few times allowing you to wet your face and cool down a bit during your climb. The hiking path will lead you right into camping spots next to the lake. This option allows you to wake up with only a short walk to the full views of the lake. Parking is available at the trailhead.

Trailhead: Deer Creek Trail # 34015, https://goo.gl/maps/WrX373cCUo...

Option 2) Base camp at Deer Creek trailhead.

This is a great option if you would rather camp and save yourself from carrying a great deal of gear into the lake. This allows you to take a day pack in and still enjoy the incredible views. From the trailhead to the lake it is a 2.7 mile hike with a 702 ft gain in elevation. There are about 5-6 pre-existing campsites available at the trailhead.

Trailhead: Deer Creek Trail # 34015, https://goo.gl/maps/WrX373cCUo...

Option 3) Base camp near Frisky Creek trailhead

This option lightens the load on the hiking by allowing you to drive about half way up to the trail. This means you can day hike in and out. However, the drive into the trailhead is challenging but offers some amazing camping. While camping in the meadows near the Frisky Creek Trailhead you will see plenty of cows and deer. For this route take road 554, then make a left at the fork for road 1297. Be sure to follow signs for Frisky Creek. When you are ready to start your journey up to deer creek, park at the Frisky Creek trailhead. Follow the trail 1/4 mile West until you come across a sign that will point you in the direction of Deer Creek. From this sign it is an additional 1.25 miles. This means your hike is now a total of 1.5 miles (about half from the original Deer Creek Lake Trailhead). Starting the hike here cuts out a lot of the change in elevation and uphill hiking. Caution: You will need a high clearance truck or SUV to make it to Frisky Creek trailhead. We drove a 2011 Jeep Cherokee to Frisky Creek trailhead, it did well, but I would have liked to take a higher lifted truck or SUV. The mountain is called "Boulder Mountain" for a reason. Believe you me, there are a lot of large boulders on that road...

Optional Trailhead: Road to Frisky Creek Trailhead 

https://goo.gl/maps/JpjoWP2T9U...

Secondly, Let's talk about fishing. 

The lake is filled with Cutthroat and Brook trout. You can see the fish right from the water line. However, the fish are well fed and picky about what they will bite. Hooking one can be difficult. Preferably fly fishing with dry flies is the best option. The fish can see you, but that won't spook them enough to flee, yet they won't bite if they are on to you. Make sure you have a long enough leader that the fish won't suspect. There are really only a few options to fish from shore. Here is our favorite spot (CLICK HERE). There is a makeshift "dock" you can get a little ways out past the lake marsh and actually fish off of. The only other viable places for getting into the water/fishing is a rocky area on the north side of the lake (CLICK HERE). You may need some sort of floatation device. The mud here sinks a bit and makes it hard to cast in. I would recommend to bring something to float on the water. You can get to these sports from hiking around the west side of the lake. You will need to cross the creek that feeds into Deer Creek Lake by crossing a section 15 ft section of boulders the creek runs under. A trail quickly picks up that takes you in the right east direction CAUTION: Do not hike east around the lake. any trail cuts off and turns into a horrible experience of scrambling and climbing over boulders and fallen trees... trust me :(

A SECOND LAKE???

There is a lake that is just north of Deer Creek Lake. This lake is called Green Lake. You can access it by taking roughly taking this trail HERE. There are also more campgrounds in the saddle of this trail between the two lakes.

Pack List

  • Recommended items (additional to your typical mountain backpacking list)
  • Bear Spray
  • Rope to hang food/trash while sleeping/away from camp
  • Fishing license - also bring a plethora of dry flies
  • Sunscreen
  • Copious amounts of bug spray
  • Bring the dog too!
  • Check Fire Restrictions with the Dixie National Forest Rangers (Escalante District) before your trip, often times during the dry season fires are not permitted
Show More
RT Distance 2.7 Miles
Elevation Gain 702 Feet
Activities Camping, Fishing, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Forest
Groups
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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