Deerhead Lake

Trail Details

Shorter Trail: ~3 Round Trip
Longer Trail: 6.5 Round Trip

Elevation Gain
Shorter Trail: 435ft
Longer Trail: 698ft

Difficulty Level

Trailhead Coordinates
Shorter Trail
45.428033, -112.906509

Longer Trail
45.434192, -112.871101
* Google maps does not give accurate directions – do not rely on them! Reference these coordinates while looking at a road map.

Trail Description

Deerhead Lake in the Pioneer Mountains makes a great shoulder season hike. There are two trails leading to the lake: take the shorter trail if that is better for your experience or the longer hike to add more exercise. We hiked the longer trail, which is a fairly short 6.5 miles round trip. Starting from the parking pull-off, you’ll see an old road going up the hillside (see our first image in the slides). Follow that to the first split in the road and you should see a sign directing you to take the right trail. You’ll climb up through a recently burnt sagebrush field that has some of the best views of the Pioneer mountains on this hike. You’ll soon enter the lodgepole forest and, after almost a half-mile, see the second split in the road with a (at the time) busted sign. Take the left trail to go towards the lake. At about 1.9 miles you’ll see the intersection sign for where the short trail meets up. Continue towards the lake as the sign indicates. From this intersection, you have about a half-mile left until the lake.

We hiked this in April, but it looks like there are quite a few other small bodies of water near the trail. For the shorter trail, it looks like you have a steeper elevation to hike so consider that when choosing which trail to start from.