Spring Sale! Get a year of AllTrails Pro for only $14.99
Get Started
Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Emory Peak via South Rim Trail and Boot Springs Trail

hard(422)
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.

Distance: 14.9 miles Elevation Gain: 3,166 feet Route Type: Loop

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

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

hiking
2 days ago

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!

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

hiking
19 days ago

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!!

hiking
24 days ago

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.

hiking
25 days ago

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.

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

1 month ago

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)

hiking
1 month ago

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.

hiking
1 month ago

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!!

hiking
1 month ago

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!

Definitely the best views in all of Big Bend

hiking
2 months ago

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!

hiking
2 months ago

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!

hiking
2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months ago

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.

hiking
2 months ago

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.

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.

hiking
2 months ago

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).

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

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.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

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.

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!

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

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

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 .

Fantastic trail. Start from up by the cabins to cut about half a mile total from your trip. We did the Pinnacles Trail first, leaving at about 8:30. It was a climb, but it was much easier on the knees coming back down Laguna. Either way, get out early to beat the sun on the way up.

3 months ago

The S Rim Big Bend Hike from Chisos Mountain Lodge is the best hike in Texas and certainly one of the best in the SW USA. It is 13 miles and has a total ascent of 2700 ft. I am certain of this distance and ascent, so don't believe the park numbers. The descent does involve some short ascents, as there is some up and down both ways. It is very doable as a day hike as we did today. Took us 8 hours with some lounging at the rim. We had no heat at all and perfect weather. This hike is brutal anytime except the dead of winter, like all Big Bend long hikes (Big Bend hikes in the heat can be very dangerous). We did it clockwise today because I like to climb on the Pinnacle Trail and descend on Laguna Meadows. The Pinnacle is much steeper and Rocky, so better to climb it than to use it on the descent. In summer or hot days, do the opposite because of the sun and shade - go counterclockwise. My recording went haywire 1.5 miles in, so I started it over. That is why you see empty space at the start and a short distance. If you have time and energy, add the NE Rim. It is spectacular but adds 3 miles. But so what? You are already up there on the rim. Add it if you can, but that makes for a 15.5 or maybe 16 mile hike.

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

The sign says 11 miles but ends up being a little over 12. I started with Laguna Meadows and ended with Pinnacle. If you flip it you’ll get a steeping incline which is harder initially but it’s easier on your knees going down. I got mixed up at the sign hat splits the south rim loop to return to chisos bend and the pinnacle trail and ended up backtracking. It’s an absolutely STUNNING hike. A bunch of changes in scenery and totally worth it. Can be done in about 5 1/2-6 hours and that’s including taking tons of pictures./stopping at viewpoints to eat and chill. Great weather mid November.

hiking
4 months ago

The views are worth everything. Start with the pinnacles and end with Laguna Meadows. We felt it was easier on our knees. All trails says 11 miles, but it was actually 14 miles according to our phones and fitbits. Amazing trail!!

hiking
no shade
off trail
4 months ago

Incredible view! But wow, what a hike. 12.5 miles, we thought it was 11. You have a choice at the start, left or right. We went left, it was very shaded, pretty, but steep. If you go right you’ll be more exposed to the sun, though there are still shaded areas, and it’s not as steep. Left has a lot more switchbacks. My feeling is going right from the start is the easier choice and maybe better for early risers since there are more sun exposure spots. I tagged “off trail” because at the start it was telling us we were off trail, looks like the app has it wrong and is mapped to the road for some reason.

Load More