South Rim Trail - Boot Springs Trail is a 11.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Terlingua, Texas that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, camping, birding, and backpacking and is accessible year-round.
My friend and I did this trail in around 7 hours (taking a few quick breaks along the way). The trail was a bit of a workout, but totally worth the amazing views along the South rim. The trail is extremely well marked so you don't even need a map -- just start at the lodge area and follow the signs. I would recommend starting early in the day if you want to make it in 1 day. Sadly the northeast rim was closed for falcon nesting -- we were going to add this 3 mile or so loop to our hike.
The volunteer at the visitors center said the Lost Mine trail was the most bang for the buck as far as the view was concerned, but South Rim was the most bang in Big Bend. Having hiked both of these trail I couldn't agree more. The views off the South Rim were incredible, but it's a long and moderately difficult hike. We hiked from the Basin trailhead up Laguna meadows to the Rim then back thru Boot Springs and Pinnacles, for 12 mile total. The Southeast and Northeast Rim trails were closed or we would have added them to the loop.
Breathtaking view from South Rim. See photos.
Just did this trail this weekend. Went up Laguna Meadows, stayed 1 night there, then continued to South Rim and did a night there. Continued on to the Northeast trail, Boot Canyon trail, and finally down Pinnacles back to the basin. My honest assessment is mixed. I had done Pinnacles up to Emory Peak last April. I kind of liked going UP Pinnacles steep switch-backs for the short time better than going up the long gradual elevation of Laguna Meadows trail to South Rim. I highly suggest doing NE rim trail if you do South Rim. Might as well. You're there, and it hits Boot Canyon trail anyhow. Views are insane! Also, take a good filter, there is water that pools behind the SE camps in the canyon. Lifesaver because that is the last water you find if you do NE trail.
This was the highlight of Big Bend for me. It's definitely a strenuous trail but it's so worth the effort. The views are really nice all the way up. But once you get up to the south rim it is just incredible. I just can't even describe it. You have to see it for yourself. Make sure you pack food and water. The loop took us most of the day at a pretty easy going pace.
Definitely hard but worth the effort. It was a great accomplishment!
A beautiful hike and well worth the effort (and it does require effort!). We went up Pinnacles and through Boot Springs to the South Rim then down Laguna Meadows. The views from the South Rim are incredible - you can see the Rio Grande and mountains in Mexico. My favorite part of the hike though was Boot Springs. The trail takes you over the rocks at the bottom of the canyon. There were a few maple trees down there that had bright orange and red leaves for Fall. The ascent on Pinnacles (or descent if you do it reverse of what we did) is much steeper than Laguna Meadows. Trekking poles are very useful on this hike! Can't wait to do this one again.
Got ENGAGED on the South Rim! One of the most beautiful hikes in the world and a MUST see in the U.S! Fantastic - chose this specifically to ask my beautiful girl to be my wife and the top of the unbeatable vista!
Hiked the South Rim Trail ten years ago. It was a pleasant hike, went up Boot Canyon, down Laguna Meadows. The views up there were majestic. We took a nap and ate lunch. On the way down halfway, came in contact with a mountain lion, was napping on the trail, we made a lot of noise, had a brief stare down, he backed down and retreated slightly into the brush, therefore allowing us to continue down the trail, a little bit faster than before. We reported the incident to the rangers. Always keep in mind, the big cats are there, and they are watching you, for the most part, they don't bother you, unless you have small children or a dog. Going back in July 2016.
Did this trail in Feb 2016. Took Pinnacles Trail to Boot Canyon to the South Rim. Pinnacle kicked my youknowwhat, but it was so worth it!! Amazing views every step of the way. It was a bit hazy so only about 25 miles visibility, but nothing to really complain about. Came down the Laguna Meadows Trail which was gorgeous as well. The trip down is actually harder for my knees so the more gradual slope was greatly appreciated. Was dog tired when I finished 8 hours after I started, but the grin is still on my face. Can't wait to do it again!!!
Three of us 16 yr old boys hiked from the Ranger Station to Boot Spring in 1952, packing our supplies on our backs and water in canteens and canvas bags. We slept on the South Rim and went on the Boot Spring the next day excpecting to see clear bubbling water. Instead there was one 3 inch deep 3 foot diameter black mudhole full of wasps, wrigglers and other critters. We were out of water and that was it. There was an old two-wire crank-type WWII phone there connected back to the station. Cranking it up, I told the ranger the situation and asked if he could send a mule-load of water. He replied only "sorry boys. you're on your own", I still remember those words. Not exactly what modern folks would expect (a helicopter?). We did what we had to do---boiled that black smelly stuff and put in a halizone tablet or two, filling each of our canteens. Then we set off the next day and made the ranger station that afternoon with swollen tongues. The song "cool clear water" by the Sons of the Pioneers is still one of my favorites.
We were all boys from Houston driving my 1947 Studebaker,
Phil Childress (still hangin' in there), Wallace Tomlinson (dec.), Bill Mount (dec.)
This trail is not for people who tire easily or have weak knees / ankles! For the most part, it's six miles uphill to the rim, then six miles back down. The trail is often steep, rocky, and uneven. The trek is worth every blister. I went up the Laguna Meadows side and back down the Boot Canyon side. Both are stunningly beautiful in their own way - Laguna Meadows for its tranquil, wide open vistas and Boot Canyon for its winding, narrow passageways. And the view from the south rim may be the best in the park, and that is really saying something!
I hiked this in March when the northeast and southeast portions of the rim trail were closed to protect peregrine falcons. The closed part is a side loop - you can still do the main 12+ miles loop!