Like the Pitkin Lake trail, this Bighorn trail also starts steeply but relents sooner as it approaches the wilderness boundary/sign. After about ¼ mile and 300 – 400 feet of gain, it becomes much more reasonable as it continues up the drainage passing through beetle-kill forest with a lot of downed trees. It then continues into some nice aspen glades. Near the one hour hiking mark, the trail passes close to the creek after passing through a small fern forest. The spot by the creek is very nice. You could almost camp there, but you’d be right on the trail.
After passing close to Bighorn Creek, the trail wanders away from it into open meadows and then begins a rigorous ascent to an upper level bench. It climbs steadily without switchbacks on quite a bit of loose scree, then swings right to cross a small talus field and then on up to the top of the bench to level off some. Once atop the bench at about 10,400 ft., it levels back out some and then there’s another forested mile to go before arriving at the old cabin marked on the survey map. The trail leads right to the front door of the cabin, much of which is no longer in very good shape, but we suppose it could provide some limited shelter from the rain. About 100 feet down toward the stream from the cabin is a very nice and conveniently vacant campsite. This cabin and some of the area around it appears to be a private "in-holding" within the National Forest. We saw no "Private Property" signs posted.
As mentioned above, about 100 feet away from the cabin and in the direction of the stream there is a very nice campsite that could accommodate a couple tents. There's also plenty of flat ground in this area. You can also proceed up valley some to open grassy/tundra benches with lower trees between 11,200 and 11,400 ft.
Open This Approach in a New Window