Douglas Creek and Duffy Creek Recreation Site consists of 14,766 acres of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). There are three separate trailhead access points, with the description here specific to the northern parking area on Slack Canyon Road SW near Waterville.
The parking area is a small circular drive with space for approximately 5-6 vehicles. There is an informational kiosk but no additional amenities at this location.
The main trail leaves the parking area and follows an old railroad grade through Douglas Canyon. The railroad tracks have long since been removed, but old railroad ties and other features remain. The footing can be somewhat difficult due to the rocky terrain throughout, and hikers should watch for poison ivy growing in seeps along the side of the trail. There are multiple crossings of Douglas Creek, although most can be managed by hopping on rocks placed in the shallow water. Some may require a wade through, and the stream crossings may become impassable during seasonal run-off in early spring or following heavy rain events.
The main trail stays close to Douglas Creek, where trailside highlights include excellent views of nearby cliff-faces and basalt columns, small waterfalls cascading down the canyon walls, aspen groves growing near seasonal seeps in the rocks, Douglas fir trees perched high on the canyon walls despite the otherwise arid landscape, sagebrush that can only be described as old growth (some growing over 6' tall!), and fantastic spring wildflowers. Willows and red osier dogwood add to the depth of seasonal colors, and birdcalls are constant throughout the canyon. Attentive hikers can spot trout playing in the shallows of the early crossings of Douglas Creek, and farther up the canyon there are several active beaver dams.
The main trail exits BLM land at roughly 2.2 miles from the TH, although the BLM carsonite trail markers continue for those who would like a longer hike (just be sure to stick to the railroad grade once the trail begins to cross private land). For longer trips, hike to the intersection with Ferrell Road, then turn south to re-enter BLM land. Dispersed camping is permitted.