Emory Peak Trail

HARD 172 reviews
#3 of 69 trails in

Emory Peak Trail is a 8.5 mile moderately 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
8.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,401 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

trail running

walking

bird watching

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
scramble
1 day ago

Awesome trail. Kicked our butts. Loved it!

hiking
28 days ago

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!

1 month ago

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
1 month 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.

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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.

hiking
1 month 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.

hiking
1 month ago

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

hiking
2 months 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.

hiking
2 months 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.

4 months ago

Definitely a challenging hike but worth the views at the top! Climb to the very peak if you are brave enough - it’s beautiful! We did this on a rather warm day in September; thankfully it got cooler the further we went up, but the way back we definitely felt the heat. We started at 1030am and we were back around 4 or 430. Total time of actual hiking was about 4 1/2 hours (we are in our 30’s and do CrossFit.. we booked it on the way back..don’t get me wrong though, this was a tough hike!)

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail with plenty of shade along the way & not as difficult of a scramble to the peak as anticipated. Did this trail first in the morning then completed Lost Mine trail.

hiking
5 months ago

It was awesome! Loved this trail.

5 months ago

Ok. Didn’t make the last 50 feet. For rock climbing, brave souls, the last 50 feet is probably worth it! But for safety minded folks, we chose to stop just short of peek. Worth the climb!

5 months ago

Loved this hike! Great steady hike up the mountain with plenty of shade. I hiked in early am so the first three quarters of the hike was in the shade with the mountains blocking the sun. Once I got past the bear canisters, majority was in the sun and the trail got a lot rockier. I was a little freaked out by all the warnings about the 25 ft scramble at the top from other reviews here on AllTrails...WAY over hyped. Not that challenging or intimidating and afforded breathtaking views. I can easily see why this is the top rated trail in the park...it’s awesome!

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

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

10 months ago

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.

10 months ago

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
10 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.

hiking
10 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
10 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.

hiking
11 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.

hiking
11 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
11 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.

hiking
Friday, February 02, 2018

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/

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

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

hiking
Tuesday, January 09, 2018

best hike so far in all my hikes! The scramble to get to the peak was a little much for me but totally worth it!

hiking
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Great hike. Highly recommended.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Trail was awesome we had a two-day hike up it. very challenging all the way up once you get to the peak the view is undescribable one of the most amazing views of ever seen all in all must do Trail.

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