South Rim via Pinnacles and Boot Canyon Trails and Emory Peak

Emory Peak, Texas

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4 Reviews
5 out of 5
The Pinnacles Trail climbs into the Chisos Mountains to the South Rim, a sheer escarpment on the south side of the high section of the mountains. Views encompass thousands of square miles of desert and mountains, making this one of the most impressive hikes in the park. From the Basin, the Pinnacles Trail climbs steeply through oaks, pines, junipers, and madrone trees to a high saddle between Toll Mountain and Emory Peak. At this pass, the trail levels out. From here, spectacular views of the Basin, the Window, and the desert far to the west attract the eye. The junction with the Emory Peak Trail lies about 0.1 mile down the trail from the saddle; bear left unless you wish to climb Emory Peak.The right-hand trail, a 1-mile spur, leads to the summit of Emory Peak, the highest point in the Chisos Mountains. It climbs steeply and requires a bit of rock scrambling at the end. Sheer, vertigo-inducing cliffs drop off from the summit on several sides. Views from the summit cover 360 degrees and encompass almost the entire park and far beyond.

South Rim via Pinnacles and Boot Canyon Trails (and Emory Peak) Professional Review and Guide

"The Pinnacles Trail climbs into the Chisos Mountains to the South Rim, a sheer escarpment on the south side of the high section of the mountains. Views encompass thousands of square miles of desert and mountains, making this one of the most impressive hikes in the park.

From the Basin, the Pinnacles Trail climbs steeply through oaks, pines, junipers, and madrone trees to a high saddle between Toll Mountain and Emory Peak. At this pass, the trail levels out. From here, spectacular views of the Basin, the Window, and the desert far to the west attract the eye. The junction with the Emory Peak Trail lies about 0.1 mile down the trail from the saddle; bear left unless you wish to climb Emory Peak.The right-hand trail, a 1-mile spur, leads to the summit of Emory Peak, the highest point in the Chisos Mountains. It climbs steeply and requires a bit of rock scrambling at the end. Sheer, vertigo-inducing cliffs drop off from the summit on several sides. Views from the summit cover 360 degrees and encompass almost the entire park and far beyond."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Emory Peak
Distance: 6.3
Trail Type: Shuttle
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 3.5 hours
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: Big Bend National Park
Driving Directions: Directions to South Rim via Pinnacles and Boot Canyon Trails (and Emory Peak)

Recent Trail Reviews

11/9/2013
0

Did these trails for the first time. The day before we started this hike it rained pretty hard in the park and on the morning we started the hike it was really foggy. The muddy trails added to the difficulty of the hike. We camped on the southwest rim. I was exhausted and sore that night and the next day but I would do it again in an instant. All the views are worth it.


9/28/2006
0

This IS in the top 2 hikes I have ever done. It was also the most difficult. If you have problems with plantar fascitis, tape up your feet! The four of us were in a bit a pain by the end, and it was worth every step. The views were absolutely breathtaking. The terrain and flora change every couple of miles. The flowers were in bloom, and it was butterfly migrating time! It can be done in one day, but be prepared to sleep so afterwards. One word to describe this hike - wow.


9/27/2003
0

A friend who had never visited Big Bend wanted me, a veteran of the region, to join him on an extended weekend of hiking to serve as a tour guide of sorts. I’m used to hiking in the hot sunny conditions characteristic of that part of the country, and warned him in advance that the weather could be harsh, despite the fact that we had planned our trip for late September. Just prior to arriving, a rare, early season Pacific cold front descended on the park, dumping over an inch of rain in the mountains and dropping daytime highs into the upper 60’s. Embarking the South Rim trailhead via the Pinnacles, the towering Chisos were enveloped in a halo of ethereal clouds. Our environ had the feel of the Elfin village in The Lord of the Rings; clouds spilled up and over the North and West edges of the Basin, pouring in through the Window to envelop the camp area below us. Climbing to the Emory Peak trailhead we ascended into the dense, sound-deadening mist. I exclaimed to my friend that this was just not normal as we approached Boot Canyon. Collecting mist dripped from leaves. Water streamed beside and along the trail. A distant, muffled sound grew louder as we approached what is normally a dry streambed. Now it had the appearance of an Appalachian stream, waterfalls dotting its course between clear, shallow pools. We waded across and continued to hike along and through the flowing creek, up the canyon towards our destination. As we approached the South Rim, the stream split into three or four headwaters, each running swift and clear. Stepping to the Rim edge, the clouds momentarily broke, revealing a breathtaking view descending two thousand feet to the Chihuahuan desert floor below and stretching nearly a hundred miles into Mexico. As quickly as the clouds broke, they enveloped us again, muffling all sound and leaving us standing on a ledge that fell away into nothingness. It was as if we had entered a dream.


6/14/1998
2

Backpacking in Big Bend is always a test of foritude. I took myself and young daughter on a three day adventure. It took several hours to drive from our home in San Antonio to the trail head. The first thing that had caught our eye were the poor preparation of the other hikers and backpackers. We had read that you had to pack all your water since back country water sources are poor at best. Plus, we had to carry all the extra supplies that go with taking a child. We headed out and made our way up the trail. This leg would joins us to the Boot Spring trail and then we would continue until we had made a loop returning on the Laguna Meadows trail. We learned the hard way that we should have gone on Laguna Meadows for the first leg. The Pinnacles leg as filled with switchbacks and the open exposure in the hot Texas sun was kicking our collective butts. The trail will make you earn your keep, don't think it would have been so bad had we been able to have lighter backs. We continued with our connection to the Boot Springs trail.



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May 2018