Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
2,073.00 ft (631.85 m)
Trail type
7.60 mi (12.23 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Bighorn Creek Trail is an East Vail gem that gets hikers up close and personal with Vail’s iconic Grand Traverse. Following an old mining route along the Bighorn Creek drainage to an early homestead, this there and back day hike is a nice break from the buzz of nearby Vail Village.

The first section of trail steeply ascends into the Eagle’s Nest Wilderness before mellowing out and meandering through pristine aspen glades. Bighorn Creek is generally out of site, but can be heard rumbling below the trail, and it makes a brief appearance for those brave enough to get their feet wet in the icy mountain run off.

Offering breathtaking panoramas of East Vail, Vail Mountain, and Mount of the Holy Cross to the South, Bighorn Creek Trail is the only East Vail trail that also offers a comprehensive view of the Grand Traverse. Visible from Vail Village, the traverse is a continuous stretch of 12,000 and 13,000 foot peaks that make up an iconic part of the Gore Range.

After a brief section of steeper switchbacks, the trail continues through stands of pine before ending at an old homestead buttressed by the Grand Traverse in a high alpine meadow.

Join the effort to protect these places

Conservation Colorado has worked with communities around the state for over 50 years in pursuit of its mission - to protect Colorado’s environment and quality of life by mobilizing people and electing conservation-minded policymakers. It fights to protect the air, land, water, and people of Colorado. Their collaborative approach and focus on electing pro-conservation officials has yielded successes in addressing climate change, supporting clean energy development, conserving water resources, and protecting our public wildlands and rivers.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Great views. Geological significance. Easily accessible from Vail.



Trailhead Elevation

8,572.00 ft (2,612.75 m)


Historically significant
Geologically significant

Suitable for




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