Bighorn Creek Trail

MODERATE 74 reviews
#27 of 194 trails in

Bighorn Creek Trail is a 6.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Vail, Colorado that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

6.4 miles
2,211 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash




nature trips





wild flowers


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. Important: 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.

9 days ago

Beautiful hike! Loved the changing landscape. Was definitely closer to hard trails I have hiked rather than moderate, as rated by AllTrails. The cabin was at 3.85 miles by my GPS and I went another 1/3 mile (mostly uphill) to the bowl and turned around at 4.2 miles. Started at 8 am and didn't see anyone until I was coming back down and about 2 miles from the trail head.

1 month ago

Beautiful trail with beautiful views. Made it 2.5 miles with three kids in tow (ages 9,9,11) and they loved it. We stopped at the creek and rested/played in the water. Aspen pine area took my breath away.

1 month ago

This is a great trail, only thing missing is an Alpine Lake. There are a couple creek crossings for dogs, though. It is steep in a couple spots (the beginning isn’t the hardest, that comes later) so be aware. It’s also mostly exposed so I would recommend doing this early in the day. Definitely go past the cabin on the left to the bowl for amazing views. My GPS at the bowl read 4.1m.

1 month ago

As others have said, a beautiful trail with excellent mountain views. Snow could still be seen on some even in mid June. It is rated moderate overall but steep climbs at the beginning and at a couple other points in the trail give you a good workout. The trail touched the Bighorn Creek at one point and the view and sound of the Creek flowing is great.

1 month ago

Hard. Moderate in sections but mostly hard. Had to turn around 2.75 miles up due to potential thunderstorms. All trails not matching up elevation/distance with Fitbit. Someone said it’s 4.5 miles to cabin today, so not sure where distance and elevations are measured. Good training.

1 month ago

I agree with other comment. One adder. Don’t stop at the cabin. Only about 1/4 mile more opens into large bowl that’s breathtaking. The red line on this app stops at the cabin but the trail goes on. Definitely worth the extra effort if you are already at the cabin.

10 months ago

Definitely an a** kicker on the way up! The aspen groves are AMAZING!! There is a section about 1/2 way up or so that follows the river so it's nice and cool here. After that there is a steep incline that is pretty rocky and in direct sun... Things to take note... I took my dog and am not sure I would recommend it... we hike all the time but it's pretty rocky in a lot of sections and with the direct sun, it was a little hot with no natural water for her to cool off in. (I definitely had water and a bowl for her). Right before the cabin, there is a little creek she could lay in... but she ended up tearing the pads on her feet and it took quite a bit of time to come down. Good hike if you want something challenging, but again maybe leave the pups at home!

10 months ago

Beautiful hike. But I would not rate this moderate. It is more challenging. The first 1/2 mile is brutal, then the uphill is not as severe for the next mile. Then it get brutal with steep elevation on loose rock. We did not make it to the hut. Turned around about 2 miles in. The Aspens are changing and the views are really pretty. Parking lot is very small and if it is full you are out of luck. There is no parking on the street. We went mid day on Wednesday and parking lot still had a few spots. Saw only a few people on trail. Felt like we had the place to ourself. The was a sign posted to beware of mountain lions. Thankfully I just had to deal with the trail.

11 months ago

Hell of a workout but worth the views and cabin!

11 months ago

The start gets your blood flowing quickly.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Excellent hike. Really 7.2 to Cabin and back.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Used to access the grand traverse, really cool canyon.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

I really enjoyed this hike. Definitely had some challenging parts but the scenery and views made it worth it. Honestly I don't know how long it actually is, but to the hut and back took just over 5 hours.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Beautiful hike! Did this one 3 July 17 with totally clear trails all the way to the cabin at about 3.75 miles. Wild flowers were blooming but probably weren't at peak yet. Only saw a few other people on the trail. Great views along the switchbacks after enjoying shade in the Aspen forests. Would definitely do this one again. Somewhat limited parking at the trailhead, but was clearly marked.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Trail to the cabin is more like 7.5 miles. Hike is pretty much uphill for the first 2.5 miles with a steep pitch in the beginning and again at about halfway. Only saw 5 other people on the trail and had cell service nearly the entire time. Both were pleasant surprises! Last mile is still snow covered and difficult to follow the trail through the pines. Wildflowers were just starting to bloom; should be quite scenic is a few weeks. Trail also has a beautiful section where you walk through Aspens. I recommend this hike but be prepared for a work out for your calves!

Sunday, April 09, 2017

dificult to keep on trail with snow but great views!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

This is one tough hike. The cabin at the end is cool and there is shade and a stream there, but it doesn't have the pay off of finishing a hike by the lake. 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. This was a long day (it was warm out). Felt like forever but was only about 5.5 hours. Not my favorite hike but worth doing once.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Beautiful! Uphill most of the hike so be prepared to work for it!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Has a steep pitch at first, then evens out into a really lovely aspen grove--I'd definitely seek it this trail again!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

It's a nice trail but not 6.4 miles. More like 10 total. 5 up and 5 back. Saw 4 people on the trail on sept 10 so not heavy traffic. Very pretty tho with a couple rock fields.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Sunday, August 07, 2016

This is a massively underrated trail. While there aren't any major "destinations" this trail is a consistently beautiful trek through beauty on all sides. From the stunning views of the peaks, to the gorgeous aspen groves, to the blooming wild flowers, to the running creek. This trail is loaded with scenery and is a great mix of difficult and forgiving terrain.

Monday, July 25, 2016

A trail with very little reward. Steep. Lots of gravel for poor footing.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Great hike. Steep for the first 15 minutes, then it levels off with some good sections of uphill hiking from time to time. At times a little more than moderate.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Great trail! Hiked out so its easy to follow. Great areas by the creek to hang and relax. Beautiful

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Awesome trail with few people generally. Hiked to the cabin at the top of the trail in the basin and then camped out overnight. Woke up at 2 AM and began the ascent of the Grand Traverse with crampons and an ice axe. Summited the peak sometime after day break. Not too steep but there is a little scrambling on rock at the top. Coming down was a blast. Glasaded the top part and down climbed a few cliffs. Grand Traverse looks really steep from town of Vail but its not that bad once you get on it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Every part was gorgeous. Challenging parts but balanced nicely. Bring a snack and sunscreen!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Beautiful! The trail was lush, and filled with wild flowers, aspen groves, rivers and streams, and beautiful views if you make it to the top. Definitely a workout, too! :)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Just walked it today. Great hike! A fun snow field along the way to hike through too!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Beautiful hike. Went late afternoon on a Sunday and not many people were there- it was almost a little eerie. Gorgeous open areas and views. Saw a snake, creepy cabin. All in all, a good one to complete! Note: Trail continues past the cabin but I turned around and went the way I came up. Not sure where the trail goes past the cabin.

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