This area is closed from Dec 1 to April 15 (or April 30th some years) to protect winter deer and elk
Big Canyon Trail is one of my favorite trails in the Horse Gulch area which is saying quite a bit. Best done from North to South, Big Canyon provides a steady decent the entire way. Primarily steadily-graded singletrack packed dirt broken up by sections of rocks and trees throughout. During spring runoff and in wetter seasons you crisscross a small stream multiple times while hiking the bottom of the canyon ending up at a car dealership in town. The canyon is usually dry however as the area has been in drought for several years. Even when water is flowing the trail itself is dry excepting the sections you splash through. There is also an awesome banking rock wall near the bottom which is fun to hit at high speeds.
Accessed in two main ways there isnt really a direct way to hike only Big Canyon Trail unless you hike up from the trailhead at the car dealership and then turn about face to come back (not recommended as most people only come down this trail). Big Canyon is better done as part of a loop either via Telegraph to Sidewinder
to Big Canyon Trail or from the other side of the mountain (out by the hospital) from Three Springs Trailhead to Grandview Ridge to Big Canyon.
Parking for the Telegraph route is at the Horse Gulch Trailhead. This is the most common way of access. Parking for the Three Springs route is either at the hospital, the Three Springs Business district (free parking), or street parking by the apartments above the hospital. The Three Springs route provides easier access with much less of a climb. If you use Three Springs access hike up to the water tower above the hospital which connects with the Horse Gulch system via the Grandview Ridge. Grandview Ridge then connects to Big Canyon.
Big Canyon Trail is not technical at all, just an easy smooth and steady decent. When done from Telegraph Trail
, Big Canyon provides a nice payoff decent after the uphill grind Telegraph puts you through. When done from Three Springs you almost feel like you cheated because you get the amazing decent without as much of a climb. To cheat even further shuttle with a friend parking one car at the car dealership and then head back to either the Horse Gulch or Three Springs. If you dont shuttle you can hike either trails or pavement back to your starting point.
Big Canyon is a must-do trail if you find yourself in the Horse Gulch trail system.
Shared By: Patrick Yarbrough