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Best trails in Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

126 Reviews
Looking for a great trail in Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Wyoming? AllTrails has 14 great hiking trails, trail running trails, wildlife trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Just looking to take a quick stroll? We've got 9 easy trails in Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area ranging from 0.7 to 4.3 miles and from 3,723 to 4,570 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!
Description

Grandest Canyon in the Northern Rockies A landscape of sheer cliffs towering 1,000 feet above a ribbon of blue water. World class fishing and a place where wild horses still run free. Bighorn Canyon is a place where imagination meets reality. Bighorn Canyon has unrivaled recreation possibilities.

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Map of trails in Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
Park information
Park hours
Monday
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tuesday
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wednesday
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thursday
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Friday
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sunday
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Contact
406-666-2412
Helpful links
Top trails (14)
#1 - Sullivan’s Knob Trail
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
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Length: 0.8 mi • Est. 26 m
A mile north of the Devil Canyon Overlook junction, you will see Sullivan’s Knob. Begin your hike from the parking area. Below the parking area two trails meet. One, an ancient trail, known as the Bad Pass Trail, was seasonally traversed by American Indians moving between the Bighorn Basin and the Northern Plains. Nature is in the process of reclaiming this trail and at times it seems to be camouflaged by the juniper, mountain mahogany, and sagebrush. The other, a modern trail, will lead the visitor south of the hill in front of the parking area and to the canyon rim. This is a great place to try making the canyon walls echo. Show more
#2 - Upper Layout Creek Trail
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
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Length: 1.8 mi • Est. 43 m
Erastus T. Ewing came to Bighorn Canyon looking for gold. Finding none he decided to try his hand at ranching. He knew that to make it in this arid land he would need water. In 1897, he filed to appropriate 200 inches of water per year from Layout Creek for irrigation, mining, and milling. In passing years, other inhabitants built holding ponds and added more ditch systems From the park road, immediately beyond the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range boundary, a historic site marker directs you to the Ewing/Snell Ranch. The Upper Layout Creek trail begins in the parking area to the right of the corrals. You may begin hiking here or drive to the end of the gravel road. The road ends in a small parking area big enough for two cars and the trail begins, following trail markers down to Layout Creek. The trail winds up Layout Creek Canyon past the waterfall to Layout Creek Springs. This lush secluded canyon offers a striking contrast to the surrounding arid plateau and emphasizes the importance of water to the land. Show more
#3 - Barry’s Island Trail
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(20)
Length: 4.3 mi • Est. 1 h 59 m
The Barry’s Island trail starts as a two-track road leading north from the Barry’s Landing parking lot. The trail goes around Chain Canyon, a secret escape route for cattle rustlers in the late 1800s and early 1900s. At Barry’s Island, the road to the west goes to Medicine Creek Campground, a boat-in or hike-in only campground. Continue following the road northeast (clockwise) around the island. The variation in water elevation is evident. During years of high water, the trail can be covered. If that is the case, take the bypass trail above the main trail.Show more
#4 - Rangers Delight Trail
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(16)
Length: 0.7 mi • Est. 22 m
#5 - Lower Layout Creek Trail
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
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Length: 3.4 mi • Est. 1 h 30 m
The Lower Layout Creek trailhead is located at the cattle guard that marks the northern end of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range. At the cattle guard, park on either side of the road making sure you are not blocking the flow of traffic. The trail begins by hiking the old two-track road south of Layout Creek. There are several opportunities to stray from the main trail to view Layout Creek Canyon as well as see the bighorn sheep and horses that use the area. The trail forks a short distance from Bighorn Canyon. Continue following the trail to the right to the bottom of the plateau. A well-trodden horse trail leads to the top of the plateau and another amazing view.Show more
#6 - Rangers Delight to State Line Trail
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(7)
Length: 1.9 mi • Est. 1 h
A great way to see both overlooks is to take the official connecting trail between the two!Show more
#7 - Crystal Falls
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
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Length: 3.3 mi • Est. 2 h 12 m
#8 - Hillsboro Trail
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
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Length: 1.2 mi • Est. 33 m
Attracted to the colors of the canyon and the possibility of those colors yielding gold, Dr. Barry began exploring Bighorn Canyon in the 1890s. During his exploration, he happened upon the Trail Creek Valley. He never found enough gold to make himself rich, but the canyon and the surrounding environment offered all he needed to make another kind of fortune. He converted to operating a guest ranch. He used the natural opportunities of hiking, fishing, hunting, camping, and horseback riding to entice more clientele to his ranch. You may visit Hillsboro in the Trail Creek Valley one of two ways: the first, a one-mile round trip hike begins by driving up the red dirt road between Trail Creek campground and Barry’s Landing to a closed gate. From there, a half-mile hike will take you to the abandoned site of Hillsboro ranch. Take some time to explore the buildings and learn how the Barrys ran the Hillsboro Guest Ranch. Don’t forget to stop at the corrals below the kiosk on your way back. The second option is a three-mile loop. You may start either in the campground or at the gate and walk to the ranch. The trail continues behind Eddy Hulbert’s cabin on the historic ranch road up to the park road. Follow the road to the Barry’s Landing turnoff back to where you began. Show more
#9 - Mouth of the Canyon Trail
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray Star(7)
Length: 1.8 mi • Est. 53 m
Seldom-seen views of the canyon, as well as spectacular views of the Pryor and the Bighorn Mountains, can be seen from this trail. The deep red Chugwater outcrops are a sharp contrast to the surrounding geologic colors of Bighorn Canyon. To explore the colors and contrasting scenery Horseshoe Bend has to offer, begin hiking at the service road on the north end of loop B in Horseshoe Bend Campground near campsite number B-15. Just before reaching the water storage tank, veer right onto an abandoned two-track. Follow the two-track up and around the hills toward the canyon. When the road disappears, follow the trail markers along the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range boundary fence. From this vantage point, you can see the mouth of the canyon and its union with Crooked Creek. This colorful setting invites one to rest and watch the horses graze below and the birds soar above. You may either go back the way you came along the abandoned two-track road or follow the trail through a juniper-lined draw to the top of the ridge and back to the road. Please stay on the trail to help preserve the cryptobiotic soil.Show more
#10 - Lockhart Ranch
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(5)
Length: 2.6 mi • Est. 1 h 16 m
Beyond the Barry’s Landing junction, the park road becomes unpaved. Follow this dirt road to the trailhead. The Lockhart Ranch is representative of life for western ranchers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The gentle flow of Davis and Cottonwood Creeks provided the life force of the ranch. Ditches running from Davis Creek took advantage of the natural topography of the land by using gravity to irrigate the surrounding pastures. You can take the half-mile loop through the ranch or you can take an extended two-mile hike along the historic county road. The trail begins at the two-track road east of the corrals near the garage. Follow the road along the northern edge of Caroline Lockhart’s livestock pastures. This path leads to Davis Creek. Following the two-track along Davis Creek will bring you to an old metal gate and the dirt road. Instead of going through the gate, follow the inside of the fence to the crossing at Davis Creek. Continue following cowpaths along the inside of the fence over the hill to a corner post. Seven fence posts south of the corner post a faint two-track turns southeast. Follow the two-track to loop back to the ranch. Show more
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