South Rim Trail - Boot Springs Trail

HARD 178 reviews
#2 of 68 trails in

South Rim Trail - Boot Springs Trail is a 11 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Basin Junction, Texas that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, camping, birding, and backpacking and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
11.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,329 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

13 days ago

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

hiking
14 days 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
15 days 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

16 days 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
21 days 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
24 days 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
1 month 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.

1 month ago

A wonderful hike with beauty at every turn. I am 61 and fit and thought this hike was very doable. If you’re not young, I recommend going up Laguna Meadows and down Pinacles. Pinacles probably would hAve done me in if I had used that route for my assent. We started at 9 am and finished the 12.5 mile hike at around 6:15 pm, stopping for lunch and breaks along the way....,,..so, it’s a full day hike. There are some really steep climbs to consider. I would say this is a hike for any age, but you should be pretty fit to do it.

1 month ago

Fun, tough hike with amazing views on the rim. I recommend going up Laguna meadows for an easier climb. We've done it as an overnight and a day hike with the overnight giving you the rim all to yourself in the morning. Either way the views are worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful, beautiful hike! My favorite in the park. Fairly strenuous for those not in the good shape. I’m 43 and in reasonably good shape, and my feet and knees were on fire. Well worth the discomfort though! Cold beer and ice packs back at camp.
Don’t forget the west rim- it’s not marked. After the south rim, instead of immediately following the path to the right to Laguna Meadows trail, head straight up for another stunning vista to the west. Adds about .25 miles to the hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Strenuous hike. Great views. We combined this with Emory Peak and it took 8 hours hiking . Total of 16 miles.

hiking
1 month ago

I started at around 5 AM from the basin on Laguna Meadows side. Saw no one. Mild weather in the 50s, It was great transition from moonlight to sun rise. The sun rays made a great arc at the rim. I spent alone at the top for about half an hour enjoying the view and the solitude. It was very windy. Came down via Pinnacles, saw a lot of people then. Since I started very early, I carried only 3 liters of water. I ended up using only 2.5 liters anyway. Took me 7 hours.

backpacking
1 month ago

Did an overnight backpack hike of Southrim loop the weekend of Nov 10th. PERFECT weather. We went up Laguna since we had 30lb packs. We carried 3-4L of water between the two of us for 2 days and night, hiking and cooking dinner and breakfast. The maples in Boot Canyon were gold and red, lots of water after rains. We ran into a huge Black Bear on Colima and they were very active everywhere. Be aware, loud and don’t run and you’ll be fine. You must use bear boxes available at each campsite. The sunset was worth everything! We came down Pinnacles and it was grueling. Glad we didn’t go up that way with full packs. Can’t wait to go back and do the Northeast extension.

2 months ago

You can string multiple loop variations onto the South Rim - you can't go wrong. This is still one of my favorite hikes out there, gazing hundreds of miles across Texas and Mexico. Be sure to start very early and keep a good pace so you are done before the afternoon heat sets in. Carry at minimum 4-5 litres of water, if not more. Keep in mind, this is the desert. Hydration and sunscreen is key! Watch out for rattlers, too.

3 months ago

Moderate difficulty but exquisite views. Backpack in for solitude when the day hikers have returned to the basin.

hiking
3 months ago

Careful this hike is very hard but very rewarding. The views at the top are spectacular. Barely saw anyone else on the trail when we went. Little shade and we ran out of water near the end of the trip. Make sure you pack sunblock, hat, water, snacks, lunch.

3 months ago

Too much cloud and fog - I need to try it on a clear day

hiking
4 months ago

Most amazing trail!

hiking
4 months ago

My husband and I completed this trail in August 2018 and included Emory Peak and the Northeast Rim Trail for a total of 16.4 miles. It took us just under 8 hours with many stops for pictures and a 15 minute lunch on the Northeast Rim.
I was a bit nervous after reading all the reviews. This was challenging, but very doable in 1 day. We are in our early 40s and in decent shape. We each had 3 liters of water which was just enough. We ran out with 1/4 mile left. We started at 7:30am and were mostly in the shade until the split for Emory Peak, which was all sun. We didn't find the rock scramble at the end too intimidating, just be cautious. The views are breathtaking. We continued on Boot Canyon Trail and decided last minute to add the Northeast Rim trail. So worth it!! We continued around the SE Rim and SW Rim trails for more incredible views, to Laguna Meadows trail to finish. Long, but rewarding day. Fantastic views all day long.

hiking
5 months ago

Did this a number of years ago and am planning on returning with my kids. An excellent hike if you like the desert and relative peace and solitude. Recommend going in the autumn: winters are cold and summers are too hot. Water it up, pack for the season, and bring your binoculars. You won't regret this one.

backpacking
5 months ago

Late post from March 2018. My wife and I backpacked and camped in Laguna Meadows night 1 and TM1(Toll Mountain) for night 2. Glorious hike and views. At this point in my life, I'm very out of shape, and I was fairly exhausted; however I would do it again. 45lb pack with 2.5l of water, and plenty of food.
****Definitely make the drive to the HOT SPRINGS in Big Bend right afterwards. Surprisingly had absolutely zero soreness the next few days.

backpacking
5 months ago

The South Rim is incredibly beautiful. It’s a good 2 night camping adventure. Designated primitive sites SE 3, SE 4, SW 1 are some of the best backcountry camping I’ve ever done. Go in the winter, bring cold weather gear, plenty of water. Then go drink beers at the chisos basin lodge.

backpacking
6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

Did this loop, including Emory Peak in one day. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone else. This hike is very strenuous, but the views! The view from the south rim is one of the most breath taking views I’ve ever seen. Especially in Texas! For me, it was worth it. But make this a 2 day hike and camp along the way.

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike extremely strenuous. If i were to do it again i would camp at the halfway point the first day and then the 2nd i would go to the top. I’m not terribly out of shape and in my 30s and this trail was very hard for me. Someone that was with me in their 20s who is in very good shape also said this trail was very hard for them. I’m not sure what’s going on with these reviews that say it’s not strenuous. They must be Olympian’s or hike every day. Took us 7 hours and we were rushing to get back before dark.My advice is to start at 7am and to take your time.

hiking
6 months ago

VERY HARD trail. The view at the top is beautiful, but the rest is just ok. Not worth how hard the hike is. Bring lots and lots of water and snacks. Do not hike in the heat. This trail almost did me in. Not recommended unless you are in GREAT shape and an experienced hiker.

9 months ago

Long and strenuous, the South Rim Trail took us a little over 7 hours to finish with a few breaks and a 15-minute lunch on the rim. We took Pinnacles to Boot Canyon and climbed down the Laguna Meadows Trail. We left from the Chisos Basin at 8am, but didn’t start climbing down Laguna Meadows until 1pm and the heat started taking a real toll on us. Even though there are three toilets along the way, we really had to go during the last four miles and tried to hustle our way down. People don’t often talk about the after effects of doing hard hikes but our bodies felt overheated and in shock the rest of the day. We felt much better the next day.

hiking
10 months ago

Went counterclockwise since we did Emory Peak last spring break, so wanted a new experience. Started at 8am and didn't see any people the first 90 mins, but did come across deer 3 miles in. Had a nice long lunch on south rim. 7.5 hours including lunch and several breaks for photos. Great day hike and not too strenuous. Enjoy!!!

hiking
10 months ago

This is the trail to do if you come to Big Bend. We did Emory Peak along the way. Started at 7 am, took 3 hours to Emory Peak. Trail gets rough near the peak, but it's there. 2 more hours to the Rim from there, then approximately 3 more hours back to the trailhead. Including stops and lunch, about 9 hours to complete the 15 miles.

As far as preparation, we did bring toilet paper as there are bathrooms along the trail. 25L of water between 5 people was way more than we needed. Probably 2.5-3L per person would have been right. Admittedly it was cool and cloudy when we hiked, so warmer weather should warrant more than that.

The views are all there, just come prepared and it'll be a great hike!

hiking
10 months ago

My wife and I went out via Pinnacles (more elevation change) and returned via Laguna Meadows and I would recommend it.

We hike slightly faster than average but are by no means 'speedy.' The whole loop took us 5 hours of hiking with an additional 0.5 hr lunch break at the Rim. (We did not go to Emory Peak or take the NE Rim).

Trail Difficulty: Moderate (mainly just long)
Exposure: Moderate, plenty of shaded areas.

It was an ~80F day, I had about 2 L of H20 which seemed reasonable. However, I had at least one already that morning before starting.

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