|View from North Loop Meadow Area|
|Top of Wild Horse Ridge|
|Angel Peak from Wild Horse Ridge|
|Old Deer Creek Road|
The Deer Creek / Meadow Loop begins at the Deer Creek Picnic Area parking lot. Six hikers arrived here to find the toilets to be so dirty that they were unusable. Granted it was a Monday; the day after a busy weekend. We also found the hill going down to the Deer Creek Canyon to be washed out and the canyon area just below the road was as well. Nevertheless, determined hikers made it down the slippery hill and through the brush around the top end of the wash and finally up onto the remnant of the Old Deer Creek Road that lies below the Mahogany Group Site. With the "worst" of the hike over with, we were on our way!
|Old Deer Creek Road|
The road climbs up a small hill and circles around a former dump site. (The old refrigerator is gone!)
|Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Oven|
Then, we followed the old road down passing by stone benches. This is a nature walk used by the group site users. We also passed by old ovens used by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
|CCC Signage Area|
|Spur Trail to North Loop Trail|
There are information signs in this area that talk about the history of the CCC in the Spring Mountains. From here, we climbed the hill to go up and over at the nearby Cougar Ridge Trailhead. On the other side of the hill, we followed the wash down until the old road led up to the right. Soon, there was a turnoff to the right. This was a spur road leading up to the North Loop Trail. We climbed up the old road and crossed the new paved Deer Creek Road. Here, there is the continuance of the spur trail and, finally, we reached the North Loop Trail. A right turn onto this well worn trail started us on a slow journey up to the Meadow. We stopped once in a while for shade breaks.
|Shade Break on North Loop Trail|
As we climbed higher, cool breezes kept us very comfortable. There were a few other hikers about.
|North Loop Trail|
We tried to stay together as a group but, as we neared the meadow, one went ahead and one lagged behind.
|Mummy's Nose from North Loop Meadow|
|Taking a Break on the Meadow|
It was all good. We took a cursory snack break on the logs in the shade and had good conversation. When everyone was ready to go again, we hiked up to the top of the meadow and turned right just past the huge old ornate bristlecone. You can see the small trail in the dirt. This is Wild Horse Canyon Trail. We weaved in and out of the trees on the diminutive path then started down on continuous small switchbacks. At the bottom of the switchbacks, there was a T-junction. If you turn right here, you will continue down Wild Horse Canyon, a beautiful shady canyon with a spring and ending with 10'-15' rock walls.
|Big Old Bristlecone marks the Junction|
However, if you continue straight as we did today, you transfer onto Cactus Jack Trail. This trail was named after a long time Las Vegas hiker who basically created this path.
|Wild Horse Canyon Trail|
This trail climbs a little before dropping you off at the top of Wild Horse Ridge, the ridge that runs above Wild Horse Canyon on its west side.
|Zigzagging down Wild Horse Canyon Trail|
|Crossing over on Cactus Jack Trail|
We climbed up onto the limestone / dolomite ridge that presents a cliff on the other side. The ridge, itself, is wide and easy to hike without having to get near the cliff side. There are very nice views from the ridge that reach all the way down to the desert floor. In the other direction, we could see Mummy Mountain, Mummy's Nose and several summer homes that can be reached using Cougar Ridge Trail. We descended the familiar trail on the ridge until reaching the end. Here, there is a little bit of precariousness getting off the ridge under huge Mountain Mahogany branches. The trail continues down the hill to the left.
|Large Bristlecone at top of Wild Horse Ridge|
A game trail exists about half way down that travels to the left along the hill. We found it and hiked to a large wash that was easy to descend to the road below.
|Atop Wild Horse Ridge|
This was Cougar Ridge Trail and we had one more hill to climb. Down the other side, we turned right to cross an old bent gate to enter into the top portion of the Deer Creek Picnic Area.
|Desert View from Wild Horse Ridge|
|On Wild Horse Ridge with Mummy Mountain Behind|
Deer Creek was flowing steadily. There were a few picnickers. And, there were some children playing in the creek. At the bottom of the picnic area, we noted the pond still had a bit of water in it and the asphalt path that we were walking on had been undercut by erosion. We hiked into the trailhead happy to have gotten some great exercise in the wonderful mountain air. Til next time, have great hikes!
5 miles; 1350 feet elevation gain; 3 hours; average moving speed 1.6 mph
|Dropping off End of Wild Horse Ridge|
|Following Cougar Ridge Trail to Deer Creek Crossing|
|Deer Creek Pond below Picnic Area|