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rocky
13 hours ago

On the shorter side, but you really get the bang for your buck so to speak. Amazing views! The south end isn’t super well marked if you’re heading out that way so I recommend starting at the north end, or where the rock climbing is. On my way out I definitely could not find trail but just forged upward since I have a pretty good sense of direction. Came out about 20 ft from trailhead. Lovely trail along the lake.

Really like this trail. Pretty lake views and cool rock formations.

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

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.

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

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!

hiking
19 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..

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.

hiking
24 days ago

PLEASE READ!
We hiked this Dec 9, 2018. Beautiful hike. Moderately hard throughout most of it, we took 5 min breaks every 45-50 min, helped us a lot. Towards the top of the peak, expect steep, slippery, extremely uneven surface rocks. Just watch your step and take a moment to check the view. The actual peak, you’ll see two peaks with their own separate antennas/solar panels. DON’T GO TO THE LEFT PEAK, GO TO THE RIGHT! Finally, (IF YOU’RE SCARED OF HEIGHTS BE CAUTIOUS AND USE COMMON SENSE!) YOU LITERALLY HAVE TO ROCK CLIMB/SCRAMBLE YOURSELF TO THE TOP. It’s also difficult and scary to rock climb back down due to random gust of wind. The top however...worth every effort. do it.

Best hike of my life so far. Best hike in Texas. Worth every minute and every blister. The beauty of the Chisos Mountains in beyond description and this trail gives you the full breadth of it as well as the incredible view of the desert floor from the south rim.

hiking
1 month ago

Tough hike with a lot of switchbacks. Views are spectacular at the top.

hiking
1 month ago

Pretty good pull to the top and then 1.5 miles out the trail which is very much the same kind of terrain. Rock wall scramble isn’t bad at all. Just keep you mind on what you are doing and put one hand and foot in front of another. Views are great but it can get a little crowded up top.

Excellent hike with great views. Hike has many different ecosystems and the view is as good as it gets. Pretty good pull to the top but well worth it. You can hit Emory peak on the backside as you are finishing up.

A wonderful hike with beauty at every turn. I am 61 and fit and thought this hike was very doable. If you’re not young, I recommend going up Laguna Meadows and down Pinacles. Pinacles probably would hAve done me in if I had used that route for my assent. We started at 9 am and finished the 12.5 mile hike at around 6:15 pm, stopping for lunch and breaks along the way....,,..so, it’s a full day hike. There are some really steep climbs to consider. I would say this is a hike for any age, but you should be pretty fit to do it.

Fun, tough hike with amazing views on the rim. I recommend going up Laguna meadows for an easier climb. We've done it as an overnight and a day hike with the overnight giving you the rim all to yourself in the morning. Either way the views are worth it.

Beautiful, beautiful hike! My favorite in the park. Fairly strenuous for those not in the good shape. I’m 43 and in reasonably good shape, and my feet and knees were on fire. Well worth the discomfort though! Cold beer and ice packs back at camp.
Don’t forget the west rim- it’s not marked. After the south rim, instead of immediately following the path to the right to Laguna Meadows trail, head straight up for another stunning vista to the west. Adds about .25 miles to the hike.

hiking
1 month ago

This hike is simply a must if you’re in Big Bend. Pinnacle trail on the way up is a real bruiser with its elevation gain, however the trail up to the peak is moderate. Some folks won’t want to climb up the rocks to summit the peak but it’s really not too bad and very well worth it. If you do, look to the west and enjoy the sun illuminating the north wall of Santa Elena canyon on the park’s western border. Stunning views.

Strenuous hike. Great views. We combined this with Emory Peak and it took 8 hours hiking . Total of 16 miles.

I started at around 5 AM from the basin on Laguna Meadows side. Saw no one. Mild weather in the 50s, It was great transition from moonlight to sun rise. The sun rays made a great arc at the rim. I spent alone at the top for about half an hour enjoying the view and the solitude. It was very windy. Came down via Pinnacles, saw a lot of people then. Since I started very early, I carried only 3 liters of water. I ended up using only 2.5 liters anyway. Took me 7 hours.

backpacking
2 months ago

Did an overnight backpack hike of Southrim loop the weekend of Nov 10th. PERFECT weather. We went up Laguna since we had 30lb packs. We carried 3-4L of water between the two of us for 2 days and night, hiking and cooking dinner and breakfast. The maples in Boot Canyon were gold and red, lots of water after rains. We ran into a huge Black Bear on Colima and they were very active everywhere. Be aware, loud and don’t run and you’ll be fine. You must use bear boxes available at each campsite. The sunset was worth everything! We came down Pinnacles and it was grueling. Glad we didn’t go up that way with full packs. Can’t wait to go back and do the Northeast extension.

Heavily graveled, easy to follow. Gravel difficult to walk in like sand is.
Scenery and Pratt Lodge Cabin Worth it.

Cool place with great views. Main trails are very wide and easy, but there are spots where the trail crosses wide swaths of granite where the trail isn't well marked. Due to recent flooding, we were unable to hike one segment of the loop, and had to take a trail through a canyon. This trail was quite rocky and rough.

You can string multiple loop variations onto the South Rim - you can't go wrong. This is still one of my favorite hikes out there, gazing hundreds of miles across Texas and Mexico. Be sure to start very early and keep a good pace so you are done before the afternoon heat sets in. Carry at minimum 4-5 litres of water, if not more. Keep in mind, this is the desert. Hydration and sunscreen is key! Watch out for rattlers, too.

Moderate difficulty but exquisite views. Backpack in for solitude when the day hikers have returned to the basin.

*This rating is the trail up to and back from the Notch.*

I originally planned only to go to the Grotto (which is pretty damn cool, btw), which is a pretty easy hike), and then figured I'd go on up to the Notch since I had a couple extra hours. That part of the hike (above the Grotto) is much more difficult, lots of elevation gain in a short distance, but SO worth it for the view of the south canyon, which is much more breathtaking than that of the north canyon.

Careful this hike is very hard but very rewarding. The views at the top are spectacular. Barely saw anyone else on the trail when we went. Little shade and we ran out of water near the end of the trip. Make sure you pack sunblock, hat, water, snacks, lunch.

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