Deafy Glade Trail

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 39.39000°N / 122.78°W
Additional Information Route Type: Hike
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Class 2
Sign the Climber's Log


To reach the Deafy Glade trailhead, follow the directions as described in the 'Getting There' section of the Snow Mountain main page. The trailhead is at a fairly useless (except for a register) display on the R side of the road (coming from Stonyford on county road M10), right as the pavement ends. There is room for 2 (perhaps 3) cars next to the kiosk, with space for another on the other side of the road down the hill ~ 50 ft. or so. In the unlikely event that this area is full, one can also start at the Dixie Glade campground/trailhead ½ mile down the hill.

Route Description

The Deafy Glade trail joins up with the standard summit trail (Summit Springs/East Peak Loop) after 3.2 miles for the latter half of the journey (3 ½ miles remain after the junction) to Snow Mountain East. This route is greatly superior (depending on one's perspective) to the fairly mundane ½ mile of the conventional trail leading to the same point: there are an additional 2,100 ft. of elevation gain (making it an impressive 4,000 ft.), solitude is almost guaranteed (I've never seen anyone else on the trail), more wildlife (I've seen a fox) & types of plants not present at the higher elevations (oak, Douglas fir, iris, …) can be seen, and a dip in the South Fork of Stony Creek can be had (refreshing!!) on this route. The namesake of the trail, lovely Deafy Glade, can be glimpsed frequently along the way as well.

The trail begins at the aforementioned display/parking spot, at approximately 3,400 ft. From there, it drops down gradually through a forest of oak, Douglas fir, and pine, and crosses various small seasonal streams en route to the South Fork of Stony Creek, approximately ½ mile away. Views of the prominent stone buttress of Deafy Rock are had to the right, about halfway down to the creek.

After 15 minutes or so at a moderate pace, the South Fork of Stony Creek is encountered at the bottom of the valley. Depending on the time of year, this section may be deep & fast flowing (in the spring, when the snowpack is melting), or low & mellow. In the former scenario, one may have to remove clothing one wishes to keep dry and cross by walking through (when I was there in mid-May the lowest feasible crossing depth was approximately 3 ft- possibly crotch-level , depending on one's height (+ cold water- yee-haw!!)), while in the latter case, the creek can be overcome by merely rock-hopping.

Once on the other side, go up the steep continuation of the trail, a little bit to the R. You'll gain a couple hundred feet in a short distance. Following this strenuous section, the trail will mellow out, and you'll see some meadows on the L, as the trail hugs the edge of the top of a steep bluff which goes down to a rushing creek below, on the R. Around this area, look for a tree to your R with a wooden sign posted to it indicating "Summit Springs 2" with an arrow pointing straight ahead, and "Fouts Springs 3 ->" underneath. Approximately 10 yards beyond this (or metres, depending on one's preference), another wooden sign will be posted on a tree, this time on the L-hand side, indicating "Deafy Glade Trail," with an arrow pointing straight ahead, and "Bathhouse Trail ->" shown below. Now, using this as reference, backtrack to ½-way between the 2 marked trees, and take the faint trail going towards the glades, away from the bluff; this is the Deafy Glade trail.

The initial portion of the trail goes through a forest comprised of a high percentage of Douglas fir, and shortly after turning off, the trail goes through a section of 5 - 10 ft.-high bushes with wonderfully sweet-smelling tiny blue blossoms for 1/8 of a mile or so. Tantalizing glimpses of Deafy Glade are had on the L. This initial portion of the path also goes through various bushy areas- watch out for ticks.

As elevation is gained, the path becomes more foresty. Views of what first-timers might believe to be Snow Mountain will be visible to the R after a spell; this is merely a false summit- the real peak lies a ways behind this. As one's elevation continues to increase, so does the steepness of the trail, initiating a large number of switchbacks. At this point one will encounter the most sustained steep climbing of the trail. There is a good chance that this section of trail will be at least partially covered with snow until late May/early June, so if you're attempting it during this time (or before), bring waterproof boots & gaiters (and possibly snow-shoes).

After a thigh-numbing number of switchbacks (and 3.2 miles from the start), the junction with the Summit Springs trail (which leads to the summit) will be reached, at approximately 5,600 ft. The most difficult part of the climb is now over. From here go R & follow the trail another 3.5 miles to the summit. From here on out is mostly gradual elevation increase (with a few steep spots) over undulating terrain. For further directions from this point, see the Summit Springs/East Peak Loop trail description.

** Deafy Glade trail notes: Look behind you at various intervals after turning off from the Bathhouse trail, to get an idea of how the vague trail will look on the way back (and try to remember key landmarks along the way, esp. at confusing or vague sections of the trail). Bringing a headlamp on the Deafy Glade trail is a good insurance measure, in case you start late & get stuck coming back in the dark (which I've done twice)- the often obscure trail can be a real bitch to find in no/low-light conditions. Finally, make sure to check yourself for ticks upon returning to your vehicle.

Essential Gear

Sturdy hiking boots, waterproof + gaiters if before mid-June (snowshoes might be handy, too), water, & standard hiking gear.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.



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