Emory Peak Trail is a 16.1 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Terlingua, Texas that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 16.1 km Elevation Gain: 766 m Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no dogs

This is a roundtrip hike to the highest point in Big Bend National Park (7,832'). The last 25 feet require a scramble up a sheer rock wall, but your reward is the ultimate panoramic view! From the Basin Trailhead take the Pinnacles trail for 3.5 miles. At this point, the one mile trail to the summit cuts off and heads upward. For fantastic views and solitude, this trail is hard to beat! Most hikers require approximately 5-6 hours for the roundtrip journey.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
19 days ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

This was an EXCELLENT mountain hike. My GPS watch put it at around a 9.5 mile round trip hike with 2500 feet up and 2500 feet down. The elevation change is pretty evenly distributed over the course of the hike, which is both good and bad — good, in that there's no one part of the hike that's devastatingly steep, but the incline doesn't really let up much at any point during the hike. The trail is phenomenally well-maintained and easy to follow; I'd say it would be genuinely difficult to get lost on it. There are built-in steps at points, and a composting toilet about a mile and a half from the summit. The trail honestly strikes a good balance between being well-maintained and a little manicured without feeling too domesticated. The really difficult part of the hike (other than just its length) is the last mile or so to the summit. Probably about a half a mile after the composting toilet, the terrain turns fairly rocky and steepens a little, which isn't too terrible but you'll definitely want to slow down and watch your footing a little. On its own this bit wouldn't be too hard, but the fatigue of having this after a few miles and around 2000 feet of elevation gain makes it a little trickier than you'd expect. A lot of the other reviews here are talking about the rocky scramble at the end, and for good reason: it's a little tough! For those familiar with YDS, I'd peg the scramble at a solid class 4; you'll for sure be using your hands and feet the whole way. That being said, the climb is fairly secure the whole way if you take your time and are patient with it. If you wear good, grippy shoes and take the time to look for good handholds, you'll be able to find a smooth, safe route up. That being said, I would NOT recommend this scramble if you have a fear of heights or of falling. I'm lucky enough that I respond well to exposure, but some folks I was climbing with were less than comfortable with the fact that there was easily a 500-foot drop-off not too far away, despite the fact that the climb itself was pretty safe. Unless you're a fairly experienced climber or know you handle exposure well, I'd highly recommend going with a friend—it makes it feel a lot easier. As far as gear goes, you can honestly do this hike with whatever gear makes you feel most comfortable. I personally took a pair of folding trekking poles (EXTREMELY helpful on the ascent), some grippy trail-running shoes, and a small packed lunch. Really the grippy shoes are the only true must, as they'll come in real handy at the top. I took 2.5 liters of fluid with me and found myself wanting just a liiiiittle bit more, so to be safe I'd recommend probably 4 liters or so, including some electrolytes. All in all, with the right prep this is a solid and doable (though definitely challenging!) mountain hike with a very rewarding summit. For anyone who's able, this is a Big Bend must-hike.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail beautiful views little sketchy rock scramble at the end but soo worth it!!

hiking
3 months ago

such great views and surprisingly good shade coverage on the way! there are a lot of loose rocks near the top so might want to consider wearing ankle-high hiking boots. there’s also a scramble right at the end so be prepared to rock climb a bit. we made the mistake of going too far to the right for the initial scramble that was very close to the edge of the cliff. the official trail was more inland between the two “pinnacles.” views at the very top is gorgeous!

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

Pretty decent trail, well maintained. Tough scramble at the top

hiking
over grown
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

Gorgeous trail! Our family of 7 (kids aged 15-7) did it in about 5.5 hours. The trip out was quite difficult with sliding rocks and gravel so that accounted for much of our time. The views were stunning the whole way up. We decided that the hoodoos in the middle of the trail looked like a grizzly bear and baby groot. As for wildlife saw some beautiful blue birds, deer and a very full figured squirrel along the way. There was even some snow left at the summit! Great hike, just pack lots of food and water. I’d suggest hiking pants as many of the prickly plants extend on to the trail.

hiking
4 months ago

An amazing trail! If you're scared of heights the scramble at the top can be uncomfortable but it's 100% worth it! Prepare with lots of water, pack lightly, and give yourself plenty of time to complete it.

hiking
scramble
4 months ago

Yes the last 25 ft is a scramble and a bit intense— not great if you’re afraid of heights. It’s definitely doable, just go slow. There are two peaks, the summit is the right side one.

4 months ago

we went over Thanksgiving just updating this now. such a great hike!

hiking
icy
rocky
scramble
4 months ago

One of the best trails I’ve ever done. Round trip it was closer to 12 miles, and where the trail splits off from Pinncales onto the actual Emory Peak trail is definitely the hardest part. The rocky scramble at the end is SO much fun, and even though it seems a little scary I never felt like I was in danger. Did this trail two days ago and there were a few patches of ice along the trail, but nothing that impeded our hike! Bring plenty of water and a good meal to have when you’re at the top, because coming back down is rough on the leg muscles.

hiking
rocky
scramble
4 months ago

Awesome hike! It took my son and I 2.51 hrs 5.1 miles one way. We walked normal and made frequent stops for pictures. It is hard but not impossible; take your time and enjoy the views and peace of the journey up. Start early so you won't feel hurried. The beginning of the trail is behind the store next to the information building. The weather was excellent, 54/50 and sunny; it was windy up in the summit. However, if you bring a light jacket or windbreaker, you should be fine. We consumed 80 oz of water together, but if you do this on a hotter day you might need more. If you are scared of heights, the summit might give you a little scared as you are climbing on rocks to the top and the wind might give you an unbalanced feeling of dropping. Very doable; there were all levels of physical capabilities and ages, so, just take your time and enjoy it.

hiking
icy
muddy
5 months ago

hiking
scramble
5 months ago

hiking
scramble
5 months ago

recorded Emory Peak Trail

hiking
5 months ago

Rough at the top but worth the view! Forgot to record on the way up so caught it on the way down

hiking
5 months ago

To a beginner hiker like me, the trail up was fairly tiring (it was a steady upwards slope and pretty rocky at times). The last scramble is very doable though! I have absolutely no climbing experience and my parents and I were all able to reach the summit. Just take it slow and be careful and you will be fine. However, if you have a fear of heights the final ascent may not be for you. My dad has a deathly fear of heights and did it, but he was really anxious the whole time and wasn’t even able to enjoy the view at the top (which was beautiful!). Also, like another reviewer mentioned the trail is actually 10.6 mi from the Chisos Basin trailhead (ie if you park and begin the hike at the Chisos Basin visitor center)

backpacking
5 months ago

Beautiful time at Big Bend, completed spring break March ‘19, taking the Laguna meadows-boot canyon-Emory peak route, camping overnight laguna west. Total mileage was 15.5ish, only issue was I ran out of water on the way out, so be sure to bring enough!

hiking
5 months ago

Good hike! I didn’t feel that the climb up was strenuous or steep grade but was very enjoyable. The scramble to the top can be a little sketchy but there are plenty of hand and foot holds. View from the top is great and you can see Santa Elena canyon off to the west.

hiking
5 months ago

Good hike, although mostly wooded so you don't have awesome views until the end and at several points along the trail. The rock climbing part at the end was not that difficult and was NOT a "a scramble up a sheer rock wall." I am not comfortable with dangerous climbing, so if i could do it without being overly nervous/scared, then most can certainly make it up there. I think there are a number of different routes one can take though. But everyone I saw was going up the right side. It never had much exposure and plenty of good places to put your hands and feet. Also, I think the hike is really 10.4 miles, not 8.5, at least from the Chisos Basin store and ranger office, which is the route that most everyone takes. So good hike and well worth doing, but a bit overrated, IMO.

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