Explore Big Bend - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Did this a number of years ago and am planning on returning with my kids. An excellent hike if you like the desert and relative peace and solitude. Recommend going in the autumn: winters are cold and summers are too hot. Water it up, pack for the season, and bring your binoculars. You won't regret this one.

Late post from March 2018. My wife and I backpacked and camped in Laguna Meadows night 1 and TM1(Toll Mountain) for night 2. Glorious hike and views. At this point in my life, I'm very out of shape, and I was fairly exhausted; however I would do it again. 45lb pack with 2.5l of water, and plenty of food.
****Definitely make the drive to the HOT SPRINGS in Big Bend right afterwards. Surprisingly had absolutely zero soreness the next few days.

The South Rim is incredibly beautiful. It’s a good 2 night camping adventure. Designated primitive sites SE 3, SE 4, SW 1 are some of the best backcountry camping I’ve ever done. Go in the winter, bring cold weather gear, plenty of water. Then go drink beers at the chisos basin lodge.

hiking
1 month ago

Did this loop, including Emory Peak in one day. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone else. This hike is very strenuous, but the views! The view from the south rim is one of the most breath taking views I’ve ever seen. Especially in Texas! For me, it was worth it. But make this a 2 day hike and camp along the way.

Great hike extremely strenuous. If i were to do it again i would camp at the halfway point the first day and then the 2nd i would go to the top. I’m not terribly out of shape and in my 30s and this trail was very hard for me. Someone that was with me in their 20s who is in very good shape also said this trail was very hard for them. I’m not sure what’s going on with these reviews that say it’s not strenuous. They must be Olympian’s or hike every day. Took us 7 hours and we were rushing to get back before dark.My advice is to start at 7am and to take your time.

VERY HARD trail. The view at the top is beautiful, but the rest is just ok. Not worth how hard the hike is. Bring lots and lots of water and snacks. Do not hike in the heat. This trail almost did me in. Not recommended unless you are in GREAT shape and an experienced hiker.

hiking
3 months ago

loved this hike, and as it says.. well worth the effort!!

10.7 miles total. Chose to take Laguna Meadows trail to Southwest rim to Boot canyon tr/1.5 mile to Emory Peak, (the trail steps helped) woohoo!! adrenaline rush.

Grueling hike and the last 30 foot scramble isn’t for the faint of heart, especially on the way down. That said, my dad (72-years old) and I completed this hike in about 6 hours with many rest stops. The 360-degree views afforded from the very top of Emory Peak are only rivaled by the views from the South Rim.

hiking
4 months ago

This was a great hike. We started at 9 am from the Chisos Basin and returned by 3:30 pm. This hike will be a great workout as it has significant elevation gain and rocky trails to traverse. The trail is well-maintained with scenic views throughout the hike. Last 25 ft requires a boulder scramble which we chose to bypass, but found the vista nearby absolutely breathtaking. Bring lots of water on this trail. We consumed 3 water bottles each as the Texas sun can be brutal especially during summer.

Long and strenuous, the South Rim Trail took us a little over 7 hours to finish with a few breaks and a 15-minute lunch on the rim. We took Pinnacles to Boot Canyon and climbed down the Laguna Meadows Trail. We left from the Chisos Basin at 8am, but didn’t start climbing down Laguna Meadows until 1pm and the heat started taking a real toll on us. Even though there are three toilets along the way, we really had to go during the last four miles and tried to hustle our way down. People don’t often talk about the after effects of doing hard hikes but our bodies felt overheated and in shock the rest of the day. We felt much better the next day.

hiking
4 months ago

Terrific day hike. Spectacular views from the top. Plan on 7 hours r/t. Bring at least 2L of water per person. Expect a bit of bouldering at the very top, which is quite doable but not for everyone. Gloves not necessary, but I was glad I brought a pair to protect my hands from scratches. Even if you don’t do the bouldering the hike is still well worth it. There are a number of primitive campsites sites sites along the trail for those interested in making it an overnight trip. We did the hike 3/25/18.

hiking
4 months ago

From the Chisos start point, I believe the trail comes out to 10.6 miles, but perhaps the app got it wrong. Overall, it was a fun trail with the best part being the peak where you can do some scrambling to see some pretty incredible views.

Went counterclockwise since we did Emory Peak last spring break, so wanted a new experience. Started at 8am and didn't see any people the first 90 mins, but did come across deer 3 miles in. Had a nice long lunch on south rim. 7.5 hours including lunch and several breaks for photos. Great day hike and not too strenuous. Enjoy!!!

hiking
5 months ago

While there's cell phone reception (Verizon) from the summit there's none from Chisos Basin which is where the trailhead is located along with lodging, camping and other facilities. Chisos Basin does have great WiFi. I was able to access it from the parking lot. But again, no cell phone coverage.

This is the trail to do if you come to Big Bend. We did Emory Peak along the way. Started at 7 am, took 3 hours to Emory Peak. Trail gets rough near the peak, but it's there. 2 more hours to the Rim from there, then approximately 3 more hours back to the trailhead. Including stops and lunch, about 9 hours to complete the 15 miles.

As far as preparation, we did bring toilet paper as there are bathrooms along the trail. 25L of water between 5 people was way more than we needed. Probably 2.5-3L per person would have been right. Admittedly it was cool and cloudy when we hiked, so warmer weather should warrant more than that.

The views are all there, just come prepared and it'll be a great hike!

hiking
5 months ago

Hiked up to the peak with my daughter. There’s a bit of a technical scramble to get up to the very peak, but if you’re not terribly afraid of heights, I’d recommend this trail to anyone. The peak view looking down on the basin was surreal and peaceful. We really enjoyed it.

backpacking
5 months ago

The trail to the peak itself has awesome views, the peak is the money shot though. About half way has a great view and is not too hard, good place to turn around if you're not up to hiking the whole 1.5 miles. There's a bear box at the start if you'd like to store your pack.


The last few hundred feet is tough, the last 15 feet is not for the weak physically or mentally. If you're in relatively good shape and not afraid of heights, take your time and you'll be fine. DO NOT be the reason they neuter this trail, know your limits.

OK let me say first off, I have never backpacked before so this was pretty tough for me and my buddy with me.

We got started at about 11, and got to Colima campsite at about 6. Going up Pinnacles with a 25lb pack was brutal, I wouldn't have tried Emory Peak had there not been a bear box to store my pack. Laguna Meadows Trail going down was pretty easy. All trails are easy to follow and all campsites and splits have signs. All in all awesome hike, with great views. Only saw one piece of trash the entire hike, and I picked up.

My wife and I went out via Pinnacles (more elevation change) and returned via Laguna Meadows and I would recommend it.

We hike slightly faster than average but are by no means 'speedy.' The whole loop took us 5 hours of hiking with an additional 0.5 hr lunch break at the Rim. (We did not go to Emory Peak or take the NE Rim).

Trail Difficulty: Moderate (mainly just long)
Exposure: Moderate, plenty of shaded areas.

It was an ~80F day, I had about 2 L of H20 which seemed reasonable. However, I had at least one already that morning before starting.

Beautiful trail. Strenuous, but manageable. Will definitely be back!

Great hike with stunning views for just about the entire route. Rock scrambling required at the end to reach the Emory Peak summit.
https://hikingtheworld.blog/2017/10/29/emory-peak-big-bend/

hiking
6 months ago

Stunning, 360-degree views from the top. There is a scramble up the steep, rocky peaks at the end to reach the summit (there are two peaks, the right one being slightly higher). If you don't like heights or have younger children, do South Rim instead.
https://hikingtheworld.blog/2017/10/29/emory-peak-big-bend/

Long day way, but worth the effort for the stunning views. Do the full South Rim circuit (Southeast and Northeast Rim trails). Camping sites available along the South Rim. If there's one walk you do in Big Bend NP, do this one...
https://hikingtheworld.blog/2017/10/29/emory-peak-big-bend/

Backpacked overnight, not terribly strenuous. Views were spectacular. Will definitely be back.

Must do. Took Pinnacles to Emory Peak, Boot Canyon down around SE Rim, around South Rim back up Laguna in one day. ~17 miles in ~10 hours. Made for a long day but was incredibly worth it.

Really tough hike for me, but well worth it! A picture can’t do justice to the views. Recommend staying in SE 4 campsite.

Loved every minute of it! I camped at SE1 and to say I was a happy camper is putting it lightly! The views were incredible. A saw enough people, but had plenty of alone time as well. It was perfect.

7 months ago

Great hike! It’s a workout and requires some bouldering at the end. Loved it!

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