Emory Peak - Northeast Rim - South Rim Loop

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Big Bend National Park

Emory Peak - Northeast Rim - South Rim Loop is a 17.3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Big Bend National Park, Texas that offers the chance to see wildlife and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from October until April.

Length17.3 miElevation gain3687 ftRoute typeLoop
BackpackingCampingHikingNature tripsBird watchingForestViewsWildlifeRockyScrambleFeeNo dogs
Description
Waypoints (0)

Big Bend National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are $30 per vehicle or $25 per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot, horse, or bike the fee is $15 per person. You can also purchase a park specific annual pass for $55.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (30)
Photos (1601)
Recordings (27)
Completed (370)
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Parker W
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Hiking

Parts of the trail still have snow and ice. Poles recommended, but spikes not needed. Follow signs for Emory peak. AllTrails route is slightly out of date. Rest of route is correct. Don’t cut off the Northeast rim, it was amazing.

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Mark Richter
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Hiking

One of my favorites in the area.

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Mathew Fiegleman
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HikingGreat!

We hiked the entire loop clockwise and skipped Emory peak as heavy snow was coming in and we had to get down. Lots of mileage and views. Really great trail to get the essence of the chisos

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Mallory Taylor
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BackpackingFeeGreat!
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Takanori Kajihara
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HikingGreat!RockyScramble

One of the challenging route, but it is very fun and worth. It takes around 9 hours as a day trip. There is not a difficult point(around the peak of Emory is a bit scramble) but the long mountain trail with a strong sun makes us tired somehow. The rim trail is covered with small stone so that it may cumulate the soles of your feet sore later if your hiking shoes are not so thick. I encountered five bears including two cabs through the trail. They are not aggressive totally but I recommend to grab a bear spray just in case. There is a hidden trail(not on the trail map but there is a trail) at the southwest corner of the rim trail and the scenery from there is beautiful.

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Trey Bush
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HikingGreat!Scramble

One of the best hikes in Texas. Tough work since you have to pack in all of your water, but all in all, worth every vista!

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Randall Keasler
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HikingRockyScramble

Great trail beautiful scenery. Only did a day hike so skipped Emory.

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Joe Johnson
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BackpackingRockyScramble

This is the exact loop I did on my backpacking trip through the Chisos Basin and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I went counter clockwise up so the climb was a little more gradual up Laguna Meadows than pinnacles but it lasted a bit longer. The views are nice up Laguna but you don’t get the scenic views until you get to the South Rim. There are a few vistas on the South Rim the truly take your breath away. And then you get to the East Rim and you have to pick your jaw up off the ground. I kept thinking the views couldn’t get much better and then they did as you look out beyond the basin down to the tons of hills that fill the distance between the basin and Mexico. From there you travel into Boot Canyon which was lush (as much as deserts can be) but you no longer get the incredible vistas and overlooks. As you get closer to the Emory Peak break off, you can easily see The Boot rock and it truly lives up to its name. As you get to the Emory Peak junction, there are two large metal bear lockers to stow your packs should you not want to take them up to the peak. I recommend you use them. The trail up to Emory isn’t that steep but it becomes a scramble towards the top and at the very peak it is a rock climb (no gear needed just definitely hands and feet). The views atop Emory are gorgeous and 360 degrees but I personally think some of the East Rim vistas were better. You see different ones at both and I definitely recommend you include both Emory Peak and the East Rim on any trips around the Chisos. After Emory, I collected my backpack and descended Pinnacles. With a heavy pack and at the end of a long day, it was tough on my knees but I did not split the mileage evenly between day 1 and 2. I did this in late January and was worried it would be too cold at night. It may have dipped down to the high 30s but it only got that cold at about 4 in the morning and once the sun was up, it warmed up quickly to the 50-60s. It stayed warm for a while at night after the sun went down though. Additionally, water is scarce along this route. They said Boot Spring was reported as flowing but I decided to skip it as I had sufficient water. They recommend a gallon a day and I followed that and was glad I did. In the winter, it was a little more than I needed but I imagine if it were hotter like Texas can get outside of winter, I would’ve exhausted my supply and been SOL. For walking time, it took me about 8 hours with a heavy pack to do the entire loop plus Emory. I could’ve done it as a day hike but I enjoyed camping in the backcountry and not feeling rushed to beat the sun. Amazing trip and by far one of the best backpacks I’ve ever done. I heavily recommend, and don’t skip the East Rim!

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Hali Rode
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HikingRockyScramble
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Preston Weaver
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HikingRockyScramble

Great hike, was difficult with 40+lbs on the back the first day, but worth the pain and effort. Pinnacles gets steeper as it goes, and the switchbacks become pretty difficult. Some of the steps were like doing a big plyometric box jump. There was tons of water all through boot canyon. Which should be there for the next monthish (Feb 2020) The Rim is everything and more what people tell you. No picture can do justice for the scale and beauty you see. We could clearly see St. Elena canyon in the distance and that was 20miles away. We could see at least 50miles into the mountains from the top of the SW rim. Highly recommend doing the extra elevation and get to the top of the rim, instead of just seeing it along the main trail. Descending via Laguna Meadows was very easy, not tough on the knees at all.

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Sarah Agnew
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Hiking

Really wonderful trail! The emery peak offshoot is pretty challenging, especially with a heavy pack, but absolutely worth it. Day 1 up pinnacle to the east rim is all uphill, and certainly a long day so plan accordingly! But day 2 down laguna is all significant downhill. The south rim is wonderfully vast and beautiful! Be sure to watch the subset while you’re up there. No places to filter water, so pack it all in with you.

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Stephanie Steenstrup
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Hiking

This trail is pretty great. The views from the rim are truly spectacular and so if you're making the treck up to Emory Peak I strongly recommend going out to the rim. We saw two bears on the way down. They are clearly not afraid of people, nor were they aggressive, but keep kids close. Strongly recommend starting early, we managed to get the first 4 or so miles in the shade of the mountain which was really nice. After that I would say that only about 2-3 miles were shaded, so bring sunscreen and LOTS of water. At the end of October, we were pretty cold in the morning but once the sun hit us we were cooking. Suggest going clockwise and up to Emory Peak first so can you get pretty much all of the elevation out of the way early. We were moving pretty slow as the end as one of us got leg cramps, but full trip took us 8-9 hours.

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Renze Dekker
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Hiking
First to Review

really amazing trail. beautiful views, spotted 3 black bears. did it in november 2018, not to difficult.

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Andrew Fisher
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Hiking
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David LeBoeuf
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Hiking
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Brian Binford
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Hiking
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Ray Sick
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Hiking
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Mike Andress
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Hiking
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Jaden Fitzpatrick
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Jordan Bucher
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Hiking
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Isaac Lazoff
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Hiking
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James Stuermer
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Hiking
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