South Rim – Emory Peak* (Big Bend)

Date: 10/29/2015

Location: Chisos Basin, Big Bend NP, Texas

Distance: 19 miles Loop (including side trip to Emory Peak)

Elevation Gain: 3000 feet

Highest Point: 7800 feet

Above – view to the south after a demanding climb from the basin

South Rim of Chisos Mountain Range is the premier trail in the park. Getting to the Rim requires about 7 miles of trudging through pleasant flora; therefore, it is consider better suited as a backpacking trail.

from South Rim, reached via Laguna Meadows trail about 6+ miles from the Basin TH

The Rim could be attained from 2 separate directions starting from Chisos Basin; I elected the counterclockwise approach via Laguna Meadows trail, and return by Pinnacles trail.  This approach offers a slightly more gradual climb (but steeper descent), but it reaches Emory Peak side trail towards the end, instead at the start.

The beautiful Mexican Jay is a common sight in Chisos Mountains

The trail hugs the rim for about 3-4 miles

… Before it turns inward and joins Boot Canyon trail – above a dry Boot Spring creek.

At about 12 mile mark where Boot Canyon meets Pinnacles trail, the side trail to Emory Peak is reached. Above – rock formations providing Pinnacles trail its moniker.

From the branch, it’s a climb of 1000 feet over 1.5 miles to the summit.

A moderate rock scramble is needed to summit.  Chisos Basin’s lodging/visitor center in the distance.

At 7800+ feet, Emory Peak is the tallest mountain in Big Bend.

Downhill descent via Pinnacles trail back to TH.  Above, view towards the Window on Pinnacles trail.












One thought on “South Rim – Emory Peak* (Big Bend)

  1. mabel wee

    What an achievement, Daniel !. Quite a rugged, rocky hike but natural mountain scenes. Well done … did you do this trail alone?



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