Upper Layout Creek Trail

MODERATE 8 reviews

Upper Layout Creek Trail is a 0.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Hillsboro, Montana 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.

0.6 miles
183 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



nature trips

trail running




wild flowers


no shade

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.

1 month ago

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.

4 months ago

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

6 months ago

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.

11 months ago

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.

Monday, July 03, 2017

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

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

step climb but so worth it

Sunday, April 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.

24 days ago