Upper Layout Creek Trail is a 1.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Cowley, Wyoming that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 1.8 miles Elevation Gain: 882 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash


nature trips


bird watching




wild flowers


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.

11 days ago

The gps trail indicated a much shorter trail than marked. Maybe 1-1.5 miles longer than someone can walk with steady incline, 50ft above the creek that is mostly out of view, to a dead end where mountains meet. Unsure since I didn’t go all the way back. The short trail listed disappointing due to inaccuracy and not worth fairly rocky road drive to start of trail. Yet if you like expansive view of land to the east and a good calorie burn then try it out. There is a parking lot earlier once pulling off highway but we drove 1 lane road about .25 mile to start of marked trail in a car.

1 month ago

An enjoyable trail. The distance and elevation are incorrect. It is more like 1 mile one way and significantly more evaluation gain than 183 feet. The falls were not that exciting, but overall the views were nice. The short dirt road from the ranch to the two car parking lot at the trail head was narrow but not bad. You could easily do it in two wheel drive, but do need a vehicle with a little more clearance.

9 months ago

3- mile dirt road to trailhead is a bit sketchy but doable, I have a ford transit full size van that’s definitely not high clearance but go slow, there are some washout areas that are bumpy. I parked in an area on left side about 300yds before a very small 2-car parking area. Hiking from the ranch parking will make it an 8- mile round trip hike vs a 2-mile well marked round trip hike from trail head. More of a moderate hike with a great payoff at the end. First waterfall is beautiful but harder to get to off trail. The spring fed waterfall at the end of the trail is spectacular and has a few small pools to enjoy, very cold invigorating water. We were there in early August and had the trail to ourselves out and back. Area is known for bighorns and wild mustangs in a canyon setting. Approach from the Wyoming side to camp and hike, fishing can be either Montana or Wyoming.

10 months ago

You definitely need a 4 wheel drive, truck, or atv just to get this trail. Following the map directions, you end up going down a semi questionable dirt road and through actual creek beds. Needless to say my little Chevy Cobalt couldn't do this trip. Got 8 miles from the trailhead and had to turn around.

11 months ago

Challenging hike but well worth it! About 2 miles to the lower falls and another half mile to the upper falls. 5ish miles round trip. Very little shade cover so it gets warm, and the elevation gain is tough. Beautiful landscape and the upper falls are gorgeous!

Sat May 11 2019

Longer than what the trail says, it was 2.3 miles round trip and took about an hour. We did stop at both waterfalls and take pictures.

Sat May 04 2019

Great hike, wonderful views, good workout...worth the time and effort!.

Sun Aug 12 2018

Beware, this is a challenging hike up to the falls, add 1000 feet to the elevation, some loose gravel switchbacks that ran close to edges that plunged. 1.5 hours, couldn’t make it down dirt slide to falls, even with hiking poles. That said, it was beautiful and we passed bighorn sheep who turned and stared, unafraid. Bear and sheep scat. It was 111 degrees back at the car, bring water. Wished we’d been mentally prepared for the challenge, hence 4 stars. Parts looked a bit like a Sierra Nevada climb. The National Park service map seems to have dropped a digit on the altitude, this is steep.

Sun May 13 2018

Wonderful hike. Steep but no scrambling. Amazing cascade waterfall at the top. Incredible views throughout!

Sat Apr 14 2018

I did this hike in June of 2016. The trail length posted here is incorrect...it is 6 miles round trip from the trailhead to the sign marked "end of trail" and back. Trailhead is at the Snell Ranch and travels up along a dirt road for the first mile before forking left to a fast-running creek which you must cross.The trail then becomes a well marked gravel trail that ascends up the Pryor Mts between two very imposing rock walls on either side with many switchbacks. Near the top is a green oasis and a waterfall. Bighorn Canyon rangers rate this trail as difficult, but highly recommended. Views looking down from the top are very imposing. I hiked this on a Saturday afternoon and had the trail to myself.

Mon Mar 05 2018

I have hiked this trail a few times. There are some steep places, but no dangerous passages. The view is outstanding as it progressively increases in altitude. The headwaters area is fantastic, with many plants not common in our area.

Fri Oct 20 2017

Steep climb up to a beautiful waterfall, it's an shaded oasis after the sunny dry hike. the hike went pretty fast and was very worth it.

Mon Jul 03 2017

Great trail with fabulous water falls but not fabulous for hot summer days as there is limited shade along this steep climb.

Wed Jun 07 2017

step climb but so worth it

Sun Apr 23 2017

A great hike that is very different from the other hikes in Bighorn Canyon NRA. It follows the layout creek up into the Pryor Mountains.

Sun Feb 12 2017

Pretty crazy time of year, but the day held up (February). There actually wasn't that much snow on the trail until you take the curve around the giant boulder near the end. The frozen springs were pretty amazing (see pictures). Such a great hike anytime of the year

Sun May 03 2015

First hiked this trail back in May of 2015. At the time he was 4, so we called it a day at the "Saddle" Falls just shy of Layout Springs. We did hike in from the Ewing-Snell lot, so I was quite proud of him.

8 months ago

Sat Apr 27 2019

Tue Mar 05 2019

Tue Aug 28 2018