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Emory Peak via South Rim Trail and Boot Springs Trail

hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(434)
Big Bend National Park

Emory Peak via South Rim Trail and Boot Springs Trail is a 14.9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Big Bend National Park, Texas that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Length 14.9 mi Elevation gain 3,166 ft Route type Loop

Backpacking

Camping

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (11)
Contact
Tips

This route goes counter-clockwise and hikers have reported that the access, if you decide to go clockwise is actually closed off.

No water source on trail. Bring water. If backpacking, bring 1 gallon of water per person per day. Campsites require permits.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (434)
Photos (1304)
Recordings (283)
Completed (922)
Fabien DV
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 11, 2020
HikingGreat!

Wild, calm, and wonderful. No needs to say more.

Terry Yung
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 12, 2020
Hiking

THE hike to do in Big Bend. The South Rim and Emory peak offer incredible views you can't get anywhere else in the park; it's hard to appreciate the rugged terrain without seeing it from above. This is can easily be done as a day hike, but bring plenty of water - you do not want to drink from boot spring, even with a filter. I was here in November and ran into a black bear in Boot Canyon (first time that has happened to me at Big Bend), and it just so happened to be one of the largest I have ever encountered. It was a non-issue, but I'm just mentioning so that others are aware that they are around. if you have time for just one hike in Big Bend, this is the one to do.

Daniel Orlaska
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 30, 2020
Hiking

We left the Chisos Basin at 9:30a and we’re on the South Rim by 12:30. We did take several breaks for pictures. We also took Laguna Meadows up. It definitely has a more gradual incline than Pinnacles. Pinnacles has more steps, switchbacks and rocky terrain than Laguna. The South Rim and East Rim are worth the hike! The views are incredible. We skipped Emory peak. We took 5 liters of water up each and drank 4 of it. There’s some shade along the way but when the sun comes out it gets pretty warm up there. Have fun!

View Daniel's Recording
Linda Peche
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 28, 2020
Hiking

Amazing summer morning hike. We went counter-clockwise up Lagunas Meadow first, South Rim, down into the Boot and finished the descent on the Pinnacles. Skipped Emory Peak. Brought 3L of water each and lucked out with a cloudy day. We would consider ourselves avid day hikers, considered the summer heat and finished early, in about five and half hours plus 20ish for lunch on the south rim. Views are for miles and miles including the Rio Grande and Santa Elena Canyon.

View Linda's Recording
Nick Pineda
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 27, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful trail that takes you full circle through the chisos basin with amazing views of the desert at the south rim

Justin Trammell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 28, 2020
Hiking

Great trail. We started at about 0830 and finished @ 1625, little under 8 hrs with a few breaks and stopping at the rim for pics. We’re in pretty good shape but we’re still gassed by the end. The distance is pretty accurate, the views from the south rim are absolutely amazing as far as the eye can see! We starting on the laguna meadow side and went down the pinnacle trail, it’s a bit more forgiving perhaps but can be a bit tough on the legs! Some may prefer to get the steeper hiking done first on pinnacle and come down on the less steep side laguna not having to descend down the steeper elevation as it can be harder on the knees, whatever you think you’d prefer. We skipped Emory peak, we’d hiked it from the pinnacle last trip and skipped the whole loop as we were short on time. This trail has a little of everything, highly recommend it if you’re looking for a challenging day hike with one of the best views in the USA. Also camp sites for those looking to make a weekend out of it!

Arjun Nagpal
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 15, 2020
Hiking

Amazing trail with nice coverage! Saved Emory Peak for another time

View Arjun's Recording
Frank Slovacek
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 11, 2020
Hiking

Great, well maintained trail. 6.5 hours taking Laguna Meadow up and Pinnacle down. Outstanding views! Really nice hike!

Adrienne B.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 11, 2020
Hiking

We took Laguna Meadows to our first campsite (LM4), then hit the South Rim on our second day. All the other reviews say it, but it bears repeating: the view is astounding. I'm from flat nowhere and being able to see that far at once was an incredible experience. We camped at Colima for our second night and took the Boot Canyon trail to Pinnacles and on home. We skipped Emory peak in favor of spending more time at the South Rim (as someone suggested here...I second that!) All-told, our phones told us we hiked around 18.5 miles with all the extra wandering around. I suggest starting on the Laguna Meadows side and finishing out at Pinnacles. The trail was very well maintained and easy to follow. A hike very worth making!!

Robert Barsalou
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 6, 2020
Hiking

Amazing vistas. Late February was a perfect time to backpack in the Big Bend Chicos Mountains.The national park at Chicos Basin also has campgrounds, a restaurant, small store and lodging.

Sabra Nickels
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 4, 2020
Hiking

I’ve done this trial twice. Once staring up The Pinnacles side, and the other starting up Laguna Meadows. My advice: start on the Laguna Meadows! It’s much more of a gradual uphill with better scenery. Coming down Pinnacles is much more refreshing than going up. Also, Emory Peak is nice but skip it and spend more time on the South Rim. The views are incredible!! Nothing compares and makes the views from Emory Peak pale in comparison.

Sarah L.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 1, 2020
Hiking

We did this trail counterclockwise, def a better route. Although still difficult, the views are amazing at the top! We skipped emory’s peak as 12 miles RT was enough for us

View Sarah's Recording
Ryan Potts
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Completed this hike without Emory Peak. It's incredible. One of my top 5 favorite hikes in the United States so far. (the others are Harding Ice Trail AK, Lost Lake Trail AK, Skookum Volcano AK, Fairyland Loop UT)

Kyle Shaw
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Hiking

Classic trail. After you finish, head over to hot spring to let your muscles relax. One of the best combos in all of the national parks. This trail directly into a hot spring.

Wesley Pipes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 23, 2020
Hiking

Did this entire loop, but did not climb Emory Peak. One of the best I’ve ever done! The variety of ecosystems you travel through make this feel like multiple hikes in one. The south rim vista is about halfway through and one of the raddest views I have walked up to. I did the loop clockwise, ascending pinnacles first to the south rim and then descending via laguna meadows. I’m in pretty good shape, but I was feeling pretty smoked at the end of it, but that made the accomplishment feel that much better. This hike is a must do!!

Maggie Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 18, 2020
Hiking

We hiked up Emory and on the way back down from the peak we took the South Rim trail back to the lodge. Total distance 15 miles. Phenomenal hike with endless breathtaking reviews. It was worth every step!

View Maggie's Recording
Ty Truong
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 16, 2020
Hiking

Long hike, but very rewarding. The views are great! I went clockwise going up Pinnacles Trail. (Don't know why the trail description says clockwise is closed off as I didn't see anything of the sort.) There's a decent incline until you get to the turn off towards Emory Peak, so take your time if you need to. Once you get to the turn off, there is a little rest type area here. There is a toilet, but no sink, and the toilet is exposed to the outside, but if you need to go then it's a good thing. Bring some sanitizer or wipes if you need it. The trail up to Emory starts easy, but gradually gets steeper and steeper until you get to the 'base' of the peak. From here, it turns from a hike to a climb. It's not too bad if you've done any climbing at all, but it's something to be aware of if climbing isn't your thing. It's only a 30-40 foot climb about so take your time to find the proper holds. The view at the top is great and you can see all around the park from up there. Head back down and hike back to the turn off. From here, we make our way to the South Rim. It's about 3-4 miles and not too difficult. However, you may be a bit tired from hiking up Emory. The trail is a bit more exposed here, so if it's hot outside, make sure to stay hydrated and covered. Once you get to the South Rim, you'll know as it has some spectacular views. You'll look over the rim into rolling hills and the view goes along the rim for a few miles. Very good views for miles around. After this, you'll head on back around the loop back to the start of the trail. The views on the way back are decent, but not as good as South Rim and Emory. You're probably tired by this point anyways, so another good 3-4 hours to head back. You'll know you're back when you start seeing more people and all the various buildings. You can get a good view of all the other points of interest (like The Window) as you near the end.

View Ty's Recording
Benjamin Marsico
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Hiking

Definitely the best views in all of Big Bend

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James Abel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 19, 2020
Hiking

So good! Great views all along the south rim and pretty flat once you get to the rim. I came up Laguna which is not as step as pinnacles and made for an enjoyable ascent and descent. I made this a 17 mile hike by going all the way to the NE rim and boot canyon junction and then turned around retracing my route back to Laguna. The best hike at Chisos basin!

Glenn Oviedo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 17, 2020
Hiking

Has to be one if not the best hike so far. So much to see, fantastic views. Conditions do change from close quarters to wide open fields. Took South Rim by way of Pinnacles. Less than 30 minutes into hike came across small Black Bear. Start early as you can, my step counter on this trail alone surpassed 40,000 steps. I’m no professional but glad I prepared and conditioned myself months prior to visiting the park. If you only had one day to visit, do this one!

Ashley Sutherland
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 11, 2020
Hiking

Went up through meadows and down pinnacles. Took us about 5.5 hours with a few stops and eating lunch at the top. Most beautiful view in the park! I highly recommend if you’re wanting a challenge

Collin Chapman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 6, 2020
Hiking

Awesome hike. I recorded it to be 12.4 miles. I went up the pinnacles side and down the luguna. Did not go up to Emory peak. Took a little less than 7 hours with a few breaks. There was snow and ice throughout the trail, which is very rare, but be sure to watch your footing if that’s the case. You will be hurting by the end of it but the views are worth every bit of it.

Hailey Hanners
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 3, 2020
Hiking

Great trail—every part offered a different view. There are a lot of shaded parts so layer up if you’re going in the winter. My body temp changed a lot throughout. Also, start with pinnacles trail. It’s the hardest part so it’s good to do that first and on the incline.

Luke Hamilton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 1, 2020
Hiking

Great Hike! Took us about 8 hours, and there’s a little more than 2500 ft of elevation gain. Take the Pinnacles trail first because it has the most incline.

View Luke's Recording
Colin G.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 30, 2019
Hiking

This was an epic hike! I am 53 with arthritis, and though not in the best shape have sufficient stamina, love to hike, and love a challenge. I went up Laguna Meadows and down Pinnacles, and don't regret that choice. Negotiating the steps and rocks down Pinnacles with my poles was preferable to the scores of breather-breaks and energy expended going up. But if I do go again I would love to go down Laguna Meadows so see it from that perspective. One bit of frustration in reading the reviews for this trail in advance was that I could not discern what made the trail so difficult other than the extreme length. This was my first time hiking out West. Most of my strenuous hiking has been in New Hampshire, primarily Franconia Notch. For those who have also hiked extensively here you know that trails rated Hard (even some trails rated Moderate) may involve scrambling, extensive distances of just large rocks and roots where you may not even know where the trail is save for the colored markers on the trees, and steep, straight-up inclines. For those contemplating South Rim trail for the first time please note that at no point will you need to use your hands to proceed or lose the trail (unless you want to).

Krista V
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 29, 2019
HikingRocky

I almost didn’t attempt this because I kept thinking, 12 miles...am I crazy? But the answer is yes. I decided to go up pinnacles and down Laguna Meadows, because I wanted to look forward to the descent. The views on the actual south rim trail are incredible. There’s a viewpoint closer to the connection with the northeast rim trail that is amazing - views for days! The descent down Laguna Meadows felt rough because my feet were tired from the ascent, so I’m glad I went clockwise. Definitely worth the 12 miles! The folks at the visitor center said to budget 8 hours for the average hiker. I did it in 6.5 with a bunch of stops for photos, lunch at the top, and catching my breath. I’m not a terribly fast biker and I live at sea level, so am definitely not used to altitude gain. Anyway, arguably the best views in the park.

Kyla Dufrene
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 26, 2019
HikingRocky

Let me start off by saying. I am not a professional hiker by any means. We had zero hiking experience and are active people and we struggled. We hiked this trail with our 9 year old daughter. It took us roughly 8 hours with plenty of stops. It was definitely one of the harder things we have ever done as a family, but the views in the end were worth it.

View Kyla's Recording
Xavier Martinez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 22, 2019
Hiking

Unbelievable vistas around every corner! This was our first visit to Big Bend. Trail was well-kept and easy to navigate, though admittedly challenging for the first 3-4 miles. Took the counterclockwise route, starting off towards Laguna Meadows, which was slightly less steep on the ascent. I lost GPS connection several times on the phone, which is why the recording looks so odd. Garmin clocked it at 13 miles with 2,677 ft elevation gain. Took us 4:38 including a few stops to enjoy the views and take pictures. Definitely a must-do!

View Xavier's Recording
Kaitlin Ramspeck
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 9, 2019
Hiking

Best trail ever to do in Big Bend! Incredible views!

View Kaitlin's Recording
Nadeem Siddiqui
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 9, 2019
HikingRocky

Great trail, needs a full day . I completed it in 6:45 min with 2 stops included . GPS ( Runkeeper )measures it at 12 miles . Going up the pinnacles / boot canyon ( clock wise on the loop) and coming down Laguna meadows trail is definitely tougher in the beginning but the return is easier . Carry plenty of water even in the winter .

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