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.