Free wilderness permits and campfire permits are required to enter the Trinity Alps Wilderness.
From the junction with the Stuart Fork Trail, the Deer Creek Trail switchbacks over a pass and then begins a gradual ascent of Deer Creek Canyon. Pass the junction for the Tri-Forest Trail at 2.5 miles and then the junction for the Granite Lake Trail at 5 miles. Shortly afterward, pass the Four Lakes Trail and then climb to Deer Lake. Beyond Deer Lake, continue climbing to the end of the trail at a junction with the Long Canyon Trail and the Stoney Ridge Trail on Deer Creek Pass.