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.

Big Bend Map
VIEW FULL MAP

Takes a little while to get to trail, but it’s well worth it. Super fun, chill, and beautiful hike! Great for all level hikers. We went an hour before dusk/sundown on the night of the lunar eclipse. Got to watch the moon rise over the mountains, and was truly breathtaking. The sunset was fantastic as well. On the way home, our gps managed to put us on a dirt road, and it turned into quite the “adventure” and extra long drive back to Terlingua as we had to turn around 1/2 way into it. Stay on paved roads!!! A 4x4 may have been fine, but we were not. Really fun, family friendly hike - that really is gorgeous. You do have to cross water at some point, but depending on water levels - it can be minimal. It was maybe 1-3 inches deep at any point. I had boots - which are not necessary (but welcomed if you have them!) and didn’t even notice it.

Went 1/20. Started at trailhead around 8:30. Super chilly to start, but by first mile, I was taking layers off. Trail is very clearly marked, and easy to follow - signs all along the way. At about mile 3.8, where Pinnacles Trail shoots off to Emory Peak - you hit “bear country” and as a solo hiker I was pretty afraid - but did not see any. I was really hot at this point, as you are getting direct sunlight. Dress in layers! I only saw one party on my way up, but once to the actual peak, there were a handful of people.

The trail itself is very fair. I am an intermediate hiker, and would not say it was easy at all, but I would not rate this as strenuous! I got to the rock scramble, and decided to start with the left side (if your facing them). I climbed up, without much difficulty and watched people do the right side. I was pretty scared based on other reviews, but so happy I went for it. While not easy, again, not super hard. I hung my pack on a tree branch so I could “climb” without it on the right side. Unbelievable at the top, and 1000% worth it! Complete panoramic views of the entire park - including Santa Elena Canyon, and others notable Park features. When scrambling, I chose lines more toward the middle of the formation. There may have been easier routes along the sides more - but the drop offs scared me, and I felt good about staying more central. Take your time, be smart, and it’s totally doable. I moved my hand around on the rocks until I found something that felt good to hold onto, and climbed up. When you come back down - which was a little trickier - go slow, stay low, and/or face the rock. It’s well worth it, and not as scary as it may seem! I’m so glad I did it, the views are breathtaking!!

I did make a wrong turn/took the wrong trail for a bit on the way down. Make sure where the bear country sign is, you stay towards the rocks for Pinnacle trails. I added about 45 mins travel time due to my detour!

hiking
6 days ago

Beautiful trail. Not too hard of a hike. Lots of switchbacks. Normally coming down hurts my knees pretty bad, but this trail wasn’t too hard on them!

Very nice trail with great views along the way. Deer spotted. Parking can be an issue, found a pull off about a 1/4 mi south of the trail head.

hiking
8 days ago

It’s a moderately difficult hike for us older folks, but once you get past the switchbacks the views are easy to get to and amazing.

hiking
15 days ago

We recommend getting out as early as possible as we were the only ones on the trail the entire way down and the trail got more crowded on the return. We are novice hikers and had no problems completing in under 2.5 hours with plenty of time for viewing the window and taking pictures along the way. The last mile back to the lodge is the hardest for those that are less experienced.

alrighty. this was my first major hiking trip ever and i did this loop by myself.
i am from the midwest and had very little. concept of what a desert hike is like.
it was BEAUTIFUL . however, i ran out of water after Emory Peak. thankfully I ran into some good people who could spare some.
there are some amazing views along the meadow trail.
i started at sunrise and it took me 6 bours because i sat for like 30 minutes at emory peak and took a few breaks in between.

this is bear country. be sure to bring a loud whistle or something noisy to scare them away especially if you are hiking by yourself.

if i do this again, i would do this trail backwards -chisos basin trail;emory;pinnacles;longmeadow.
having to hike through the basin at the end was hell but my perspective would probably be different if i was properly hydtraded.

it is a beautiful trek. bring way more water than you think and always prepare

Incredible views. Only moderate elevation gain. Changing scenery constantly. Recommend highly.

We thoroughly enjoyed this hike. It’s almost all downhill for the first 1.5-2mi down into the valley (which means uphill coming back). Starts at the Chisos mountain campgrounds. Once you get into the canyon at the bottom it is incredible. My partner found the exact spot where the water originates and starts to flow down stream. The rocks were easy to cross and the trail is so very well maintained. The rocks directly near the actual window itself are very slippery however. My recommendation would be to not get cute and try to see how far out into the window you can go before it drops off. We loved this hike and did it on an off day to recover after climbing Emory the day before. Highly highly recommend.

Amazing hike. It was hard. 10.6mi round trip. Starts at the bottom near the Chisos Basin camping grounds. It’s a difficult hike with such a rewarding 360° view from the top. The last bit up to the actual summit is basically a little rock climb. Very nerve racking. Takes some flexibility and coordination for that last little climb up to the tip top. We did this on 1/4/19 and it was cold up there! Definitely wear layers and pack lots of water and fuel around this time of year.

hiking
17 days ago

Amazing trail, but the parking lot fills up fast. Plan to get their shortly after sunrise if you want a spot!! The trail can get pretty crowded too.

The best hike in all of Texas. Walking through Boot Canyon feels like descending into a prehistoric world. Amazing views. I go every year and love it even more each time, even this year when it was freezing cold and everything was covered in fog. I usually see deer going up too.

I'd recommend going up Pinnacles (shorter and steeper) and going down Laguna Meadow. I'd also recommend checking out the Northeast Rim, and making sure to leave early.

hiking
17 days ago

Started this hike at 630am came back down by 330pm. Stopped alot along the way enjoyed the view ate a small lunch at the peak near the satellite. I climbed up the left wall. it was alot easier. The right wall I would say is for more advanced climbers. for me I just didn't want to risk the fall. but it is definitely a beautiful view! you won't be missing out by much if you climb the left wall. TAKE PLENTY OF WATER OR GATORADE! I'm from South Texas I went during August. I'm used to the Texas sun but that day the Texas sun had no Mercy! I don't know how I would have made it without my 6 water bottles and 3 Gatorades. I used an offline map I downloaded from Google maps to keep track of the hike.

Amazing hike, I did it counter clockwise as a overnight backpacking trip. Counter-clockwise seemed a bit easier. The views on the South Rim were amazing. I added a few extra miles by hiking out to camp at NW 4 for the night--there were at least 4 pads for tents down there and lots of little trails to several AMAZING viewpoints for sunrise and sunset. I did see bear scat fairly close to the tent areas, so be sure to be bear-aware and store any food/scented items in the bear boxes!
I would rank this as Moderate for me personally, but I'm in fairly good shape (and am comparing this to backpacking on the Colorado Trail which I would rate as Strenuous). I carried in all the water I needed, but I did come across water on Day 2 of my hike.
I wrote a blog post about this trip if you'd like to get a little more detail: www.backpacktheplanet.com/blog/big-bend-solo-backpacking

Super easy (I hiked to the hot spring in flip flops). I also didn't see the loop part--I just walked back the same way I got there. The hot springs were awesome. Highly recommend. Definitely pay attention to the road warnings, it is VERY narrow.

hiking
18 days ago

After the first half, this trail is basically a staircase up to the top. The view from the top is fantastic! You can see all around. To be honest it was a little difficult to tell where the trail ended. It was a little cold and windy at the top, but that’s to be expected in January.

This review gives some detail as to the time requirements of the trail. As an almost 50 year old female in moderate shape, I’ve done this trail twice as a day hike. You don’t have to be an experienced adventurer as the description says. Just have a planned route, bring water and snacks, and get an early start so you can make it back before dark. But bring a good flashlight just in case you spend a little too much time on the rim! There are several composting toilets along the route, but be sure to bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Starting at Pinnacles, it takes me around a 3 hours to make it to the rim with a steady pace and only a couple of short breaks. I push it to get through Pinnacles as I have more energy in the first part of the trip before fatigue sets. South Rim trail is much easier than Pinnacles. The longest part of trip always seems to be coming back Laguna Meadows, but probably because it’s the last part of the trip. This leg of the journey takes about the same amount of time as the ascent, but I usually take more and longer rest breaks. You really have to take it slower going down due to loose rock and an increased fall potential. I prefer taking Laguna Meadows down as it is easier on the knees than Pinnacles. Whole trip takes around 7-8 hours with spending at least an hour on the rim for taking pics, picnicking, and just taking it all in! Total distance from the parking lot and back is closer to 12 miles. When coming back on Laguna Meadows, be sure to take paths to the left where tails diverge. Otherwise you’ll end up on loop trails and get a much longer hike!

Really fun hike. You get a lot of “bang for your buck” with this hike because it is not as remote or long as other hikes in the area, but you get to see great views and lots of flora and and some fauna (if you’re lucky!)

Don’t miss this one if you come to Big Bend!

hiking
20 days ago

This was a tough hike that was worth it. We got started at sunrise and it took us around 6 hours with many breaks and chances to absorb the scenery. I recommend lots of layers especially in the winter months. When we got close to the top, the trees were covered in frost!

Do not let other commenters scare you away from trying out the scramble. My husband is afraid of heights and he did it, and the results were worth it for him. Just trust your gut and don’t do anything you think will be too dangerous, but my suggestion is to make the decision when you see the scramble in person and don’t let reviews on the internet scare you!

Just a note - this trail is really 10.6 miles round trip, as other reviewers have noted..

Short and easy. The prettiest/coolest parts are the beginning and end. This is a must do if you are going to do the Upper trail. It gives context to how that one ends.

It got pretty crowded and slippery towards the end, but the views were awesome the entire way

The entire road closes 8 miles before the canyon due to the government shutdown. tuff canyon is open.

Short and pretty trail that was great to stretch out my legs after the Window Trail. Great views of the Rio Grande. The warnings about oversized vehicles to get to the trailhead should be heeded!

Well worth the drive down and the hike. Easy hike; just a bit of a climb, but the views are more than worth it.

Was closed for government shutdown.

hiking
23 days ago

Awesome hike......I had been by this trailhead once before in 2017 after camping out on the South Rim...I got there but I was so tired and dirty I decided to hook it back down to the basin. I regretted that so I went back and hiked Emory Peak on Dec 21. View was awesome and worth the hike. I can now add that to my list.

Hands down, my favorite hike in Texas. The views at the top are worth the effort. This hike is challenging but very doable if you give yourself ample time to complete it. It took us about 8 hours, not including a half hour spent taking in the views on the south rim. We did not include Emory Peak. We ascended via the steeper Pinnacles, which I would recommend despite the extra effort. I think coming down the Pinnacles would have been too much for my joints. I’m nearly 40 and in good shape, but I was feeling pretty sore by the end.

Love this trail! This is the second time doing it and it was just as amazing as the first time!

Easy hike, stunning views

hiking
24 days ago

Stunning views, easy hike. Well worth the effort / payoff ratio. We went right before sunset for some magical colors and walked back with the sun setting. At the bottom we drank a Big Bend beer we bought from the store at the top of the trailhead

Load More