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Big Meadows Trail [CLOSED]

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Rocky Mountain National Park

Big Meadows Trail is a 7.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 7.4 miles Elevation Gain: 1,279 feet Route Type: Loop

kid friendly

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

closed

no dogs

It has been reported this trail has a temporary closure due to COVID-19. Please see the park's website for up to date information.

hiking
7 months ago

I’m probably spoiled because I live here in Colorado but this trail was just okay. We left from Green Mountain Trail and came back Onahu. The map does have you against the road the last .7 miles and you really can see the road for the last part. Only two real ascending sections that weren’t all that long or strenuous. Mostly rolling hills through a tragic amount of dead lodge pole pines. May have been a prettier hike before the cursed Japanese pine beetle. No keystone moment or view. Lots of meadows, which would probably have been good at dawn or dusk for animal sightings. We didn’t see any between 10 am and 2 pm. A great family hike or for flatlanders looking to move their bodies in the park. Highlight was the few aspen groves close to the trailheads. Some had already lost their leaves but other were still on fire on 10/6! Not mad at this trail as it was a great chaser to a hard, high alpine 8.5 miles the day before but won’t be doing it again.

hiking
7 months ago

Nice trail. My husband and I went with our 5-month-old, who snoozed through most of the excursion :-) We were hoping to see some moose, but the ranger at Kawuneeche Visitor Center said that this time of year (early October), the elk drive them into higher elevations. We didn’t see any elk either, but I think that was just bad luck/time of day. At the start of the trail, there are some beautiful aspen! There are several smaller Meadows along the way, so plenty of opportunities for wildlife watching.

hiking
7 months ago

Dogs not allowed.

hiking
8 months ago

Trail seemed misleading at times. If you start at Green Mountain parking lot, follow the signs for Onahu creek trailhead after you reach Big Meadow. Really enjoyed the stretch from Green Mountain parking lot to Big Meadow. Be aware that there are lots of down trees, mud, and some trail work near the Onahu creek side of this loop. You pass an area where there was a rock slide, which is neat. Would not start from Onahu Creek trailhead—VERY steep if you’re having to go up. Saw a bull moose early in the day. Lots of horse poop everywhere unfortunately. Lovely forest smells though.

hiking
8 months ago

Overall great trail and well maintained. Our group of 5 backpacked around the loop over 3 days 2 nights. Starting from green trailhead to big Meadows is mostly uphill but not too bad. Big Meadows is beautiful with great scenic views but the overall area is prone to random thunderstorms after noon so bring a rain jacket. The hike from big Meadows to upper onahu is pretty much all uphill and is quite difficult especially if you're backpacking so be prepared. The hike from upper onahu back to the trailhead is all downhill

hiking
9 months ago

The meadow portion of this trail was spectacular. We ran the trail, and it was a fun run.

hiking
10 months ago

Avalanche damage was a little challenging. Abandoned homestead log cabins along Big Meadows were interesting. Hike took three hours. Recommend for an easy scenic hike.

hiking
10 months ago

Hiked 7/15/19. Trail was in great shape. Moose in the meadow.

hiking
bugs
10 months ago

We did the trail to Big Meadow. I felt like it was a lot of uphill work for not much payoff. The trail is overrun with mosquitos.

recorded Big Meadows Trail

hiking
bugs
10 months ago

Lots of mosquitoes but we did see several moose. Level should be moderate

hiking
10 months ago

Very nice trail. There are a lot of up hill and down hill with spots of high elevation climb nothing to difficult. There are a couple spots that are muddy and you will have to navigate a little around the muddy spots. Otherwise great hike. The meadows are very beautiful. I wouldn't recommend hiking in rain months or during snowy season would be difficult. I'd rate this trail as moderate. Saw a moose in the meadow, Very nice veiws, not a lot of traffic. Bring masquito repellent.

hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
10 months ago

Beautiful hike! Had plenty of mosquito repellent, thanks to all the comments here. I agree, it should be rated moderate. It's a decent incline and rocky in places. I wouldn't say I'm in terrific shape, but reasonable. We arrived at 6:45am which was perfect for parking, cool air and seeing 6 moose. Two females in one of the fields on the trail and 4 males once we got to the Big Meadow. Stunning beauty when the trail opens to the meadow. We are just starting to explore RMNP so we don't have a lot of perspective, but really enjoyed. Lots of people heading in as we left, the line of cars was about 30 at 10:30am.

hiking
muddy
11 months ago

Hiked this trail today - on the first day of summer and it was snowing at the Big Meadow. The trail looks like it was recently cleaned up and in great shape. There was a bit of mud and lots of puddles due to rain overnight and in the morning. We spotted a few elk in the meadow and saw a mom and baby moose right near the end of the trail. With clouds and rain it was still a great hike. Can only imagine what the meadow would be like if you could actually see the surrounding mountains.

hiking
11 months ago

We hiked this loop on June 16, 2019. It starts out with a hill to get the heart pounding but the Big Meadow is beautiful where we saw several moose grazing. After the trail goes back uphill away from the Big Meadow you encounter different density of forests, ponds, streams and lots of wildflowers. I saw several wild Orchids along the trails as well as Columbines and others. There were still a few snowy/wet patches to walk through and get ready to climb over many trees that have fallen on the trail. Very beautiful though the part of the Big Meadow isn't that long and you spend more time in the woods along streams. I'd do it again!

hiking
Thu Jan 03 2019

Hiked this loop during the peak Aspen color. Saw a Ptarmigan within the first 1/2 mile of trail heading up to the meadow and last was the last wild life for the day. Saw two people coming down from the meadow, and no one else until the meadow. They headed further east up to to Green Mountain, and we headed north, ccw around the loop. The hike was in the trees / shade the entire time. The river along the downhill northern most part of the loop was good to listen too. The trail was dry the entire loop. Very secluded, which spooked my wife. Total distance was 7.7 miles covered in 3:15 hrs total time.

hiking
Fri Sep 07 2018

Nice trail. Beautiful meadow. Be sure to bring binoculars to scan the meadow and high mountains.

hiking
Wed Aug 15 2018

Trailhead wasn't too busy. Good parking spots available. Lots of bugs. Bring your bug repellent of choice. Trail started out a little steeper than anticipated. Was a bit toasty on this particular day, but there were nicely shaded areas. Start early!

Sat Aug 11 2018

Beautiful hike. Trail well maintained and easy to follow.

hiking
Fri Jul 20 2018

We parked at Green Mtn trailhead and started at about 7 AM. We walked counter-clockwise so we'd get to Big Meadows first while it was still early and were rewarded with 5 moose in the southern section of the meadow. Great hike!

Sun Jul 15 2018

Beautiful trail!

Wed May 16 2018

Great hike mainly through the woods, but we did spot some moose in the open meadow on the Big Meadow stretch. It took us about 3.5 hours to do the whole loop. The snow at higher elevation slowed us down a little. It's currently mid-May and there were some snow piles that had places that were knee deep. Wear good water proof shoes!

hiking
Tue Dec 19 2017

Made this a 6-mile out and back from Green Mtn TH, as we were breaking trail past the turnoff to Granite Falls, but I'm guessing the loop would have been passable the entire way. Conditions were perfect, a few inches of snow and very little ice, no traction devices needed. Get out there!

hiking
Sat Sep 02 2017

Did this as a loop, starting at Green Mt, going along Big Meadows and taking Onahu Creek and connector trail back to the start. Big Meadows is lovely, but we saw no moose.

Sun Jun 25 2017

Nice trail with tons of moose!

Tue May 30 2017

Meadow was beautiful but trail in poor condition in sections after snowmelt and especially due to horse traffic. Hikers must acquiesce while the beasts trod on unaffected! I would have given trail a 4 rating for the majestic meadows alone were it not for the trail condition.

hiking
Thu Aug 11 2016

I read 3.5-4 hours but can be done much faster. I did it in 2.25 with a couple stops. Nice meadows. Trail is undergoing a bit of maintenance due to wet/muddy conditions.

hiking
Sun Jul 20 2014

Not a bad day hike... Remember to bring your bug spray....the Mosquitos were horrible. Overall I liked the views at the meadow at the end of the hike, there is a running creek through the meadow that makes for some really great panoramic photos. The elevation gain was okay as I completed the hike carrying our daughter on my back in her carrier. We started at the green mountain trailhead and hiked to the big meadows which was only 3.8 miles there and back. Plan on about three hours with kiddos.

hiking
Thu Jul 17 2014

This is a good hike with not a lot of people. We hiked a loop up Green Mountain Trail, across Tonahutu, and down Onahu Creek, then took the Onahu Creek back to Green Mountain Trail head. Mosquitos were really bad but the wildlife and wildflowers made for a great hike.

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