Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
40.00 ft (12.19 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
0.40 mi (0.64 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.

The Bighorn Loop is one of four marked trails inside Desert National Wildlife Refuge. Accessing the loop requires leaving the visitor center on the Jackrabbit Loop. The Bighorn Loop heads into the shadeless desert, with a portion crossing the fence line from when the refuge held bighorn sheep. The trail is about 0.4 mile in length, with a portion intersecting with and overlapping for a short part of the Coyote Loop.

The path is paved, and it is family friendly and fine for nearly all ability levels, however, most of the trail passes through a desert environment with no shade. Visitors have the option to leave the trail and follow the 0.1 mile singletrack out-and-back Whispering Ben Trail to view a boulder used by native peoples as a bedrock mortar for grinding honey mesquite beans.

The Bighorn Loop passes by a leftover length of fence from when the refuge used this area to pen desert bighorn that they were studying during the 1950s and '60s. The end of the trail passes a reservoir that used to hold water for the refuge. Those looking to add some distance or variety to their hike can fork onto the Coyote Loop, which features significantly more shade and other areas of interest. All amenities like water, shade, and bathrooms are available at the visitor center at the Bighorn Loop Trailhead.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Winter
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Variety of features along trail.

Cons

No shade.

Trailhead Elevation

2,895.00 ft (882.40 m)

Highest point

2,925.00 ft (891.54 m)

Net Elevation Gain

30.00 ft (9.14 m)

Features

ADA accessible
Wildlife
Historically significant
Family friendly
Flushing toilets
Shelters
Big vistas
Potable water

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

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