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Bighorn creek trail
bighorn creek trail
Bighorn Creek trailhead sign
Cascading rocks along Bighorn Creek trail

Bighorn Creek Trail

3.4 miles (one way)

The first 1/2 mile of the trail climbs steeply out of the Vail Valley, then more gradually climbs up through stands of aspen and pine. The trail passes beaver ponds and the remains of old mining camps as well as Bighorn Falls. Near mile 2, the views of Vail and Bighorn drainage are exceptional. Around mile 3, the trail passes through open meadows and stands of subalpine fir and Englemann spruce, offering a chance to see the Grand Traverse, a continuous 12,000 foot ridge connecting all the peaks and high drainages of the Gore Range. The trail ends at a recently-refurbished homestead cabin located on private property. Please respect private property rights.

To avoid trampling sensitive vegetation and to prevent soil erosion, please stay on the trail at all times. Dogs are permitted, but must be kept on a leash in order to protect wildlife and the hiking experience of other trail users. This trail enters the Eagles Nest Wilderness – regulations are posted at the trailhead. 

Trail Adopted By: Howard Head Sports Medicine

Show Your Love for Vail Trails

Hiking in Vail goes hand in hand with caring for our pristine natural environment. Here’s how you can do your part!

Stay on the Trail

No shortcuts - going off trail compromises trail construction, kills the vegetation, increases soil erosion and may result in reduced water quality.

Pack Out Trash

Stash it until you can trash it - anything you bring with you, you must pack back out! Trash can hurt wildlife and contaminate water ways.

Dog Do's and Don'ts

Do pick up the doo – pack out all dog poop. Don’t let dogs off leash – this is to protect them from wildlife and wildlife from them.

Respect Wildlife

Give them space - observe wildlife from a distance and do not follow or approach them. Never feed animals as it can alter their behavior.

Plan Ahead

Take the trail less traveled - there are over a hundred miles of hiking trails in the Vail area! Use the trail guide to discover area trails and whenever possible ride a bike or take a FREE Town of Vail bus to the trailhead.

Driving Directions

Access: Parking is very limited at the trailhead; do not park in undesignated areas. We strongly encourage taking the free East Vail blue line shuttle, which runs every 30 minutes, from the Vail Transportation Center to the Main Gore / Bighorn stop. Walk east 1/3 of a mile up Bighorn Road (under the overpass) and you will see the Deluge Lake Trailhead first, then Gore Creek Trailhead farther down the road.

Bus to Hike

Take the East Vail bus

  • Park for free in Vail Village or Lionshead structures and take a free bus to East Vail
  • Get off at the Columbine bus stop
  • Walk north 1/4 of a mile up Columbine Drive (under the overpass)
  • You will see Bighorn Creek Trailhead

Dogs & Leashes

On all trails that enter the Eagles Nest Wilderness, as well as on the North Trail, DOGS ARE REQUIRED TO BE ON A PHYSICAL LEASH. If you would like to hike with your dog off leash, there are several areas you can go, such as any trail, aside from the North Trail, that does not enter the Eagles Nest Wilderness, as well as dog parks within the Town of Vail. Remember that, no matter where you are, when in public, your dog needs to be under verbal control. Also, if you use a provided dog waste bag, please remember to carry it out with you. The bags are not biodegradable.