Cottonwood Creek Trail

This highly scenic trail is suitable for hiking and horseback riding (advanced riders). Cottonwood Canyon has steep, vertical cliffs. The elevation at the mouth of the canyon is 4,800 feet with the top of the canyon wall at 7,200 feet. At the upper end of the trail, the elevation at the creek is 7,000 feet and the top of the canyon wall is 7,900 feet.

The trail is about 4 1/2 miles long and winds through BLM-managed public land, Bighorn National Forest land and State of Wyoming land. The trail accesses the Bighorn National Forest where one can continue hiking or horseback riding on primitive roads and trails.

Vegetation in Cottonwood Canyon include narrowleaf cottonwood, willow, waterbirch, red osier dogwood, big sagebrush, juniper, mountain mahogany, Rocky Mountain maple, Indian ricegrass, ninebark, limber pine, Douglas-fir, aspen, and bluebunch wheatgrass.

Things to note: Bring drinking water as Cottonwood Creek disappears underground at times. If using water from the creek, filter it or otherwise treat before drinking.

Adventure is at Your Fingertips


Cottonwood Creek Trail


The BLM welcomes you to explore, enjoy, and make positive memories from your outdoor experiences on America's public lands and waters. Please remember these are wide-open spaces and wildlands. Plan ahead and be aware of potential hazards. It is everyone's responsibility to take the necessary steps to minimize chances of becoming lost or injured on public lands.

When visiting public lands, please also practice Leave No Trace and Tread Lightly principles.

For other key advice on various recreation activities, please see the BLM's trip-planning tips. These helpful tips can help you make the most of your recreation experience. However, for more information about local conditions, regulations and recreation resources, there is no substitute for visiting the closest BLM office.





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Geographic Coordinates

44.86938, -108.07204


Take Highway 14A until about 10 miles east of Lovell. Immediately on the east side of Bighorn Lake, after the causeway, turn left onto the John Blue Canyon Road (#1122). Take the first road on the right, travel this road for approximately 5 miles until you reach the campground and trailhead.