Deep Creek, and its major tributary, Holcomb Creek, flow northward from the San Bernardino Mountains to the confluence with the Mojave River, eventually providing a major source of water for desert residents. Both streams surge through rugged rock-ribbed canyons; their waters tumble and cascade among huge boulders and pause in limpid pools as they flow from the high mountains to the desert. Vegetation along the creek varies from conifers and willows at the higher elevations to sycamores, cottonwoods, chaparral, desert shrubs and cactus at the lower elevations.
Deep Creek is a state-designated Wild Trout Stream, supporting healthy populations of rainbow and brown trout for backcountry anglers. The creek canyons also provide home to several sensitive amphibian and fish species including the endangered arroyo toad, Mojave chub, and three-spined stickleback. Other wildlife found here include nesting golden eagles, California spotted owl, southern rubber boa, mountain lion, black bear, mule deer, and flying squirrel. Upper Holcomb Creek provides habitat for several threatened and endangered plant species.
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) ascends along Deep Creek from the Mojave River confluence and then up Holcomb Creek. It provides some of the most outstanding scenic vistas in the entire San Bernardino Mountains, as well as relatively easy access to the popular Deep Creek Hot Springs. Deep Creek was a major entry point to the San Bernardino Mountains for Native Americans, who migrated from the Mojave Desert to the ountains each summer to collect acorns. There are many sensitive cultural sites along its banks.
The Forest Service considers Deep Creek to be eligible for National Wild & Scenic River status in recognition of its outstanding scenic, recreational, historical/cultural, fish, wildlife, and ecological values.
How To Get There
Upper Deep Creek Access (best in the summer): From the junction of Hwy 18 and 173, drive north on Hwy 173 to Lake Arrowhead. Turn right and continue on Hwy 173 to the community of Cedar Glen. Turn right on Hook Creek Road. About 2 miles from Hwy 173, Hook Creek Road turns into Forest Road 2N26Y. Follow 2N26Y about 1 mile to a junction with Road 3N34. Veer left and drive about .5 miles to the Deep Creek parking area (also called Splinter Cabin). Follow the trail to Deep Creek, where just a bit downstream, you can see the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) bridge crossing the creek. You can hike the PCT further downstream as a day trip, or if you can arrange a car shuttle, hike 16 miles downstream to the Mojave Dam access point near Hesperia.
Lower Deep Creek Access (best in the spring, winter, fall): From Interstate 15, take the Main Street Exit in Hesperia. Drive approximately 6 miles east on Main Street to the intersection with Rock Creek Road, where Main Street becomes Arrowhead Lake Road and heads south. Drive approximately 5 miles south on Arrowhead Lake Road. Look for the large Mojave Dam and a turn out on your left that leads to a locked yellow gate. Park here (avoid blocking the gate) and proceed on foot past the gate and across the top of the dam to the Pacific Crest Trail, which heads upstream on Deep Creek.