Bighorn Creek Trail is a 6.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Vail, Colorado that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 6.9 miles Elevation Gain: 2,244 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

This trail enters the Eagles Nest Wilderness. Wilderness regulations exist and are posted at the trailhead. Parking is very limited at this trailhead. Please consider taking the free Town of Vail bus from the Vail Village parking structure to access this trail. The climb from the start is fairly steep. As with most of the other East Vail hikes, there are several small streams you'll cross and lots of photo ops. When you start the trail you'll take an immediate left and start climbing. It looks like you should continue straight but that is not the trail.

muddy
snow
3 hours ago

got to mile 3 and decided we didn't want to deal with snow, since we live down the street and can try anytime.

hiking
snow
1 month ago

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
7 months ago

Definitely an incline but not bad at all. Only part that gets confusing is the big rock slide half way through. Great work out and can run down! I hiked only 2.1 miles up the the big clearing and ran the 2.1 miles back and made it home right around 2 hours.

hiking
9 months ago

Had not hiked this trail since 2008. We were pleasantly surprised by the views. The cabin has been rebuilt in recent years. Like all the East Vail trails it is very steep at the beginning and continues to offer some challenges throughout the rest of the hike - rocky, and a bit slippery at times, but do-able and well worth the effort. Wildflowers we’re past the peak but still stunning. Very few people on the trail on Tuesday.

hiking
over grown
rocky
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

First couple of miles very steep and then evens out a bit. It’s quite rocky which we didn’t really notice so much until our return down and we slipped a few times and had tired feet by the end. We tried to continue past the cabin but after about 30 minutes the trail seemed to end and there were lots of streams. We wanted to go to the grand traverse but couldn’t figure out how to get there without a clear trail. Regardless it was a good workout and beautiful flowers.

hiking
rocky
10 months ago

Easy money. Steep part in the middle, bring poles.

hiking
rocky
10 months ago

We were not too impressed with the trail as almost for the first 2 miles you walk in the forest with literally no view and about 1.6 miles in, there were tons of rocks in the path that we thought the trail was closed but there were a pile of arranged rocks that helped us lead the way. The valley opens up around mile 2 with some views but the climb had a lot of loose stones. We turned around 2.5miles as it felt a bit dangerous due to the loose pebbles and we had forgotten our hiking poles. The hike is a hard hike so take poles to help on the steep slopes.

hiking
10 months ago

Epic trail! Very rewarding hike and views. It took us 5 hours round trip with a 30 minute lunch break. We got confused at the start because the actual trail is slightly different than what AllTrails shows, but the two paths quickly converge. We saw a total of 7 people. Not sure why the parking sign says 3hour limit, you have to move really fast to get to the cabin and back that quickly.

hiking
rocky
10 months ago

Great trail, less traffic, only met on other hiker along the way, beautiful scenery!

hiking
10 months ago

Glad all trails changed rating to hard It is steep and has sliding rock areas. Still pretty but avalanche took trees out before the cabin. All manageable with areas that will have you watching your footing. Poles are helpful. Enjoy. the cabin is great.

hiking
10 months ago

Well maintained, steady climb. A couple of steeper sections, but nothing super strenuous. We hiked to the cabin and back in a little under 4 hours, including a stop for lunch and a couple stops for the dog to jump in the creek. Great views throughout. Not heavily trafficked. We did this mid-morning on a Saturday and saw less than 10 other people.

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
10 months ago

Great hike! The trail is rocky but well maintained. The last half mile or so, the trail is impacted by some navigable snow and avalanche damage, which made finding the trail difficult for a short time but totally doable. The cabin was redone in 2017. Be sure to sign the guest book and don’t miss the gushing river/waterfall to the east about 2 miles in. Lots of water for the dog and wildflowers starting to bloom. Happy hikers!

hiking
11 months ago

Great trail. The scenery is spectacular. Much of the trail is rocky and there are a couple of steep sections. We ran into pervasive snow at the 3 mile mark, but it was navigable with the GPS.

hiking
11 months ago

endurance and watch the trail

hiking
snow
11 months ago

Gorgeous hike, lots of views. Trail was covered in snow after the ridgeline portion. had to turn around cause we lost the trail due to snow.

hiking
Wed Oct 24 2018

Took me about 2 hours and 15 minutes to the cabin. Enjoyable hike overall. The trail is still mostly clear of snow right up until the last portion. As another poster mentioned, it pays to do a little more work and go up the boulder field for better views. I would rate it, as a few others have, as very high moderate or low hard.

hiking
Sun Oct 07 2018

Lovely hike but don't be fooled, this is hard, not moderate. I'm really not sure how All Trails rates trails but this one must have been rated by either an advanced hiker with perception problems or a crazy person. The first .4 miles are steep, the next mile is the only moderate section. Perhaps the rating is based on the first 1.4 miles? After that it is hard, very rocky, steep, 2 rock falls and very difficult. I'm an experienced runner & hiker and i cannot figure out how this is only rated moderate. There are quite a few hikes around Vail that are much more enjoyable.

hiking
Tue Sep 18 2018

Gorgeous hike especially with all the fall colors. Was definitely on the harder side but well worth it. Tracking on my watch put me at about 8 miles to the cabin and back. We brought our dog and only ran into 3 groups of people throughout the hike!

hiking
Tue Sep 18 2018

There are much better hikes in the area. Though rated moderate, for anyone less than a seasoned hiker, I would say this is a hard hike with 35% grade ascents. HIGHLY recommend poles! Travels through aspen so nice for the fall and seems like there would be good wildflowers in July. Only about 12 parking spots limited to 3 hours and most people cannot get to the cabin and back in three hours. The cabin is anti-climatic. I recommend stopping for your snack at the large boulder field (not the small one) or going just above that field to a large flat area in order to enjoy the views. For more info and pics click here: https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/09/18/roadtrip-to-the-rockies-vail/

hiking
Sun Sep 09 2018

I know it’s subjective, but it closer to hard than moderate. Amazing views, well-worth the time and effort. We went on 7 Sep and most of the Aspen in the immediate vicinity of the trail were still green.

Tue Sep 04 2018

Fantastic hike! It took us 3h and 45 min total round trip (2 hours just pass the cabin as it is def a must see area and then 1h and 45min back). The trail is not crowded at all - only met 10 other hikers along the way. The level of difficulty is about right on moderate level - nice mix of shaded areas with lots of aspen trees trailing along a wide creek, then some steeper areas across boulders. All is well worth the hike!

hiking
Sat Sep 01 2018

This trail is beautiful but difficult. Definitely not great for dogs on leash, the inclines mixed with the rocks are just too much. You have to get past two rockslides to get to the cabin. And there is a parking limit of three hours. No way did I finish this in three hours. Also it’s more like a total of nine miles. The creek was a great break for the pups but overall wouldn’t bring them here again for the entire trail.

hiking
Sat Aug 25 2018

Beautiful hike but we have to disagree with moderate. More on the border of difficult but manageable. Lots of steep slippery sections and rock scramble. The aspen are beautiful and the view at the cabin amazing. Elevation climb is slow and steady so the descend is tough if your knees are not young. Worth the effort. GPS and Garmin said closer to 4.55 miles to the cabin. Trail altered and rerouted so not sure of New distance. Would be amazing hike when the aspen change. Enjoy. Hiking poles would be your friend on this trail.

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