Big Cow Creek Trail

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Big Cow Cr Trail

Difficulty: Moderate     Trail Use: Light (Heavy During Hunting Season)

Length: 7.5 miles from Trailhead to jct with Gros Ventre River Trail #4081, ~4 miles to jct with Goosewing Cr Trail #4082, ~4.5 miles to jct with Jagg Cr Trail #4084
Elevation: 7650 ft at the Big Cow Cr Trailhead, 9420 ft at Cowboy Camp, 8620 ft at jct with Gros Ventre River Trail #4081
Open to: Hikers, Equestrian
Trail Highlights:
  • The trail begins by climbing through open sagebrush meadows and mixed lodgepole forest and aspen stands. It crosses several small creeks, some with bridges, and passes by a small seasonal pond. Visitors will reach a large open meadow about 2 miles up. The trail crosses the creek and can be difficult to follow due to several small stream braids.
  • After crossing the creek, the trail stays on the right side of the meadow and begins climbing steeply. There are several great camping spots in this area. The creek can be difficult to cross in the spring. The trail then climbs through pine forest for several miles until reaching Cowboy Camp.
  • Cowboy Camp is a huge open meadow offering spectacular views of the Wind River Range as well as the Gros Ventre Range, particularly Darwin Peak.
  • Connect with Goosewing Cr Trail at Cowboy Camp. The first right at Cowboy Camp will lead up an open ridge and eventually descend into Goosewing Cr which leads back to Gros Ventre Road near Gooeswing Guard Station.
  • Connect with Jagg Cr Trail, which is also known as Bear Cabin Cr. A small sign does exist at this junction. The trail goes up Bear Cabin Cr, and the trail is very faint and non-existent in some places. Just stay in the drainage and it will eventually lead up to a saddle which will drop into Jagg Cr.
  • Connect with the Gros Ventre River Trail. If you stay straight through Cowboy Camp, you will eventually drop down to Upper Falls on the Gros Ventre River. Heading to the right at the junction will follow the GV River Trail to its headwaters. Taking a left will follow the GV River down to Gros Ventre Ranch and the Kinky Cr Trailhead.
Important Information:
  • Big Cow Cr Trail is located within the Gros Ventre Wilderness. See restrictions link below for more info.
  • Trail is located on USGS Quad Map for Ouzel Falls and Darwin Peak, 7.5 minute
  • Always check the information kiosk at the Trailhead for updated material on forest regulations and closures.
  • Trail is extremely muddy during the fall and foot travel is not recommended
Photo of a crew member standing on a bridge Photo looking down the trail over the bridge.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Call Tim Farris, Trail Supervisor @ 307-739-5414 for current trail conditions.
Restrictions: Trail is located within the Gros Ventre Wilderness.  For more information click here.

General Information


From Jackson, head north on 89/191 towards Grand Teton National Park. At Gros Ventre Junction, take a right towards the town of Kelly. Follow the road through Kelly and take a right on the Gros Ventre Road. Follow the Gros Ventre Road almost till its end, bearing right towards Goosewing Guard Station just past Upper Slide Lake. Continue on the Gros Ventre Road past Goosewing G.S., past Soda Lake Rd., past the small sign for Big Cow Cr, until you reach a large turn around area and corrals. The trail begins just past the large kiosk. There is a trail that begins at the small Big Cow Cr sign and there is a small parking area here. This trail connects into the main trail about a mile up.

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