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South Rim Trail - Boot Springs Trail

HARD 219 reviews
#2 of 69 trails in

South Rim Trail - Boot Springs Trail is a 11 mile moderately 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
11.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,329 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

18 hours ago

Added the 2.8 miles to summit Emory Peak also.

rocky
1 day ago

hiking
3 days ago

One of my all time favorite hikes! Squeeze in Emory Peak trail along with this one and it makes for an amazing day. Big Bend at its best, the views off the South Rim will burn in your memory. amazing stuff

hiking
rocky
4 days ago

Just got back from this hike. So much fun! Was hesitant to do it because it’s labeled as hard and I’m not a very experienced hiker, but you don’t have to be! I’d say the reason it’s labeled hard is 1) the distance being 12 miles 2) the elevation and 3) the rocks which are many! There are many spots with loose rocks and I did slip a couple times because of them and because I was descending at the time. So I just slowed my pace and paid more attention to my steps and it was fine! I started out early, around 730 am and it was cool and shady for more than half the trip! So I recommend beginning early. Trail is clearly marked with options to make it longer or shorter. Even had about 3 out houses along the way. I started out on Laguna Meadows trail and finished on Pinnacle Trail. The elevation was gradual and not too many loose rocks. The descent was very rocky and gradual. So glad I chose to do it! The top is beautiful!

Awesome hike! Second time I’ve done it and it’s just as good as the first. Starting with Laguna Meadows is definitely easier in terms of elevation change, but Pinnacles Trail doesn’t have much shade—something to be mindful of on a hot afternoon. Also worth noting, the end of Pinnacles Trail was moved in March of this year. You’ll be hiking to the west of the water tower, not the east, so don’t be alarmed if your maps/GPS don’t quite line up. The ranger said it adds negligible mileage to the hike. Definitely do this hike if you can!

hiking
10 days ago

By far my favorite hike at this park! The view is amazing and it's such a fun hike - definitely worth it!

hiking
26 days ago

Challenging but in a good way. Best views in the park!

hiking
28 days ago

We did this trail yesterday and the views were stunning! We hiked all the way to the south rim via the pinnacle trails route so it was more like 14 miles for us but well worth it! We completed in about 6.5 hours with breaks to snack and eat. The hike was pretty strenuous but since we started at 8am we had shade throughout a lot of the hike! Make sure you pack enough water because like I said it is a difficult and strenuous hike! Plenty of bird watching on way up as well as we spotted some deer right by us! Great hike well worth it! Nothing tops those views from South Rim!

Tough but not extremely hard like websites project. Backpacked to SW3 with 30 lb packs. Took 7 liters per person which was plenty. Explored around south rim. Watched the sunset at camp and the stars were brilliant. Went up Laguna Meadows and back down Pinnacles via Colima. Skipped Boot Canyon due to time.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a beautiful hike. I did it about 10 days back and the leaves had some cool colors. This trail has it all, seclusion, good vertical climb and the views from the South Rim are spectacular. If you want more mileage, you can also knock out Emory Peak.

backpacking
1 month ago

One of my first backpacking trips, did with my extremely fit boyfriend, and it was a pretty strenuous trip, but it was mainly because of our surprising deficit of water and the ruthless heat. We brought about 8 L of water for 2 people for 2 days, and we had to conserve, and the heat was insane, as we went in the middle of May (from Indiana, we aren’t used to that heat with such little shade). Overall, I definitely could see the hike done in 1 long day, but with the weight that we brought combined with a later start time, as well as the extra ~4 mile loop on the top of the mountain made for a full, yet doable backpacking trip. The top of Emory peak was gorgeous, and allowed for some cell service, but the extra loop off the main loop gave us more isolation and equally gorgeous views of the desert below. Definitely make sure to bring more water than you think you need if doing this in the summer, because while it was absolutely gorgeous and moderately strenuous, the last thing you want to happen is run out of water on a hot summer day in the desert. Overall, an amazing hike for either a long day hike or short trail times for a 2 day backpacking trip. I was honestly surprised at how lovely the desert views could be!

backpacking
1 month ago

Awesome hike with great views. A friend and I hiked up via Laguna Meadows and down via Pinnacles. We camped in Boot Canyon, which provided both shade and wind protection. As others have mentioned, going up counter clockwise (via Laguna Meadows) is not as difficult as going clockwise (Pinnacles). I highly recommend camping in Boot Canyon simply for the amazing sunrise that you can view from a bit higher up on the Boot Canyon Trail.

hiking
1 month ago

My 14 year old daughter and I made this our first overnight backpacking trip. On the first day, went up via Laguna Meadows. (NE Rim trail was closed due to Peregrine falcon nesting.) We had to hike down Boot Canyon to hike up to our camp at NE2. 8.53 miles on first day. I carried all our gear and water and had 40+ lb pack. It was not easy, but it was far from hard. Views are great at the rim and well worth the hike. Second day was mostly down; through Boot Canyon and down Pinnacles for 6.51 miles. I can see how going up via Pinnacles would be much tougher than up via Laguna Meadows. Great hike!!!

hiking
1 month ago

We did the trail in 7h30 with lots of break for taking pictures and having our lunch at the south rim part of the trail. The trail is not streneous, just a long hike! The trail is really well marked and the elevation gain is very smooth. We started at 7 AM by the pinnacles trail and finished by the laguna meadows. The end of the trail was very sunny, wear a hat ! The best part is the south rim for the view and the rest of the trail is also nice with different landscapes all the way.

1 month ago

Well worth the trip up to the rim. Panoramic view of the park from 7300+ feet. The hike is pretty strenuous going up but coming down is much easier. Do not think this is a cake walk.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is gorgeous all along, but the views you’ll want to slow down for are on the rim and on the way down (that is - if you’re taking the Pinnacles trail down). I began much too late in the day (around noon) and had to wear a headlamp on the steep switchbacks down because it got dark quickly. Going up/starting out on the Laguna Meadows trail is the ‘easier’ way up, but is still exerting. Once you are descending from the rim and go down the Pinnacles trail you will see that ascending via the Pinnacles trail would be much worse, as even descending it the switchbacks are very steep and brief. All in all, a beautiful trail that I would do again.

hiking
2 months ago

Do this hike on a clear day to get the great views to the west, south, and east at the rim. The drive into the Chisos Basin is spectacular. An easy day hike with lots of changes in habitat and a well maintained trail. The northeast rim (an extension of this trail) was not open due to nesting peregrine falcons which we watched soaring around the cliffs. We did the trail in 6 hours, counterclockwise and the grade is very gradual. Lots of birds!!

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

I did this trail as a day hike, but I would strongly recommend backpacking it unless you are in incredible shape. The views are spectacular, but the most interesting part, for me, was the remnant Ice Age Forest on the way. It is a unique environment I hadn’t seen elsewhere, with an odd mix of conifers, mosses and lichens, and overgrown desert plants. Also an excellent place for wildlife viewing. Start early in the day, and pack plenty of water; backcountry campsites are scattered along the trail. Leave yourself plenty of time at the Rim.

hiking
2 months ago

Absolutely incredible. I guided a backpacking trip out here and would recommend doing the trail counter clockwise to help save your legs a little on the incline. Stay in campsite SW03 if it's available...you definitely won't regret those views and the sunset that comes with it.

hiking
3 months ago

Let me start with the south rim view is awesome. And I recommend this to everyone. I haven’t done too much hiking in some time. I’m a fairly fit guy in his 30’s and I did this loop 7 hours with some 45 minutes of viewing time at the rim. I started on the pinnacles to get the ascent out of the way while I was fresh.

hiking
3 months ago

There is no better hike in Texas. Maybe the entire country. The views will change you. Don't overthink. Just hike it.

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

4 months ago

Incredible views. Only moderate elevation gain. Changing scenery constantly. Recommend highly.

hiking
4 months ago

The best hike in all of Texas. Walking through Boot Canyon feels like descending into a prehistoric world. Amazing views. I go every year and love it even more each time, even this year when it was freezing cold and everything was covered in fog. I usually see deer going up too. I'd recommend going up Pinnacles (shorter and steeper) and going down Laguna Meadow. I'd also recommend checking out the Northeast Rim, and making sure to leave early.

backpacking
4 months ago

Amazing hike, I did it counter clockwise as a overnight backpacking trip. Counter-clockwise seemed a bit easier. The views on the South Rim were amazing. I added a few extra miles by hiking out to camp at NW 4 for the night--there were at least 4 pads for tents down there and lots of little trails to several AMAZING viewpoints for sunrise and sunset. I did see bear scat fairly close to the tent areas, so be sure to be bear-aware and store any food/scented items in the bear boxes! I would rank this as Moderate for me personally, but I'm in fairly good shape (and am comparing this to backpacking on the Colorado Trail which I would rate as Strenuous). I carried in all the water I needed, but I did come across water on Day 2 of my hike. I wrote a blog post about this trip if you'd like to get a little more detail: www.backpacktheplanet.com/blog/big-bend-solo-backpacking

4 months ago

This review gives some detail as to the time requirements of the trail. As an almost 50 year old female in moderate shape, I’ve done this trail twice as a day hike. You don’t have to be an experienced adventurer as the description says. Just have a planned route, bring water and snacks, and get an early start so you can make it back before dark. But bring a good flashlight just in case you spend a little too much time on the rim! There are several composting toilets along the route, but be sure to bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Starting at Pinnacles, it takes me around a 3 hours to make it to the rim with a steady pace and only a couple of short breaks. I push it to get through Pinnacles as I have more energy in the first part of the trip before fatigue sets. South Rim trail is much easier than Pinnacles. The longest part of trip always seems to be coming back Laguna Meadows, but probably because it’s the last part of the trip. This leg of the journey takes about the same amount of time as the ascent, but I usually take more and longer rest breaks. You really have to take it slower going down due to loose rock and an increased fall potential. I prefer taking Laguna Meadows down as it is easier on the knees than Pinnacles. Whole trip takes around 7-8 hours with spending at least an hour on the rim for taking pics, picnicking, and just taking it all in! Total distance from the parking lot and back is closer to 12 miles. When coming back on Laguna Meadows, be sure to take paths to the left where tails diverge. Otherwise you’ll end up on loop trails and get a much longer hike!

hiking
4 months ago

Hands down, my favorite hike in Texas. The views at the top are worth the effort. This hike is challenging but very doable if you give yourself ample time to complete it. It took us about 8 hours, not including a half hour spent taking in the views on the south rim. We did not include Emory Peak. We ascended via the steeper Pinnacles, which I would recommend despite the extra effort. I think coming down the Pinnacles would have been too much for my joints. I’m nearly 40 and in good shape, but I was feeling pretty sore by the end.

hiking
4 months ago

Best hike of my life so far. Best hike in Texas. Worth every minute and every blister. The beauty of the Chisos Mountains in beyond description and this trail gives you the full breadth of it as well as the incredible view of the desert floor from the south rim.

hiking
5 months ago

Crazy good views. Elevation change is fairly gradual considering the views you get. Highly recommend!

hiking
5 months ago

Excellent hike with great views. Hike has many different ecosystems and the view is as good as it gets. Pretty good pull to the top but well worth it. You can hit Emory peak on the backside as you are finishing up.

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