Return to Big Bend - Emory Peak Trail

Great views from the peak
User: oliverd - 10/28/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4point5stars Solitude: 2point5stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: N/A

Did Emory Peak as a side-trip on the South Rim circuit walk - fantastic 360-degree views from the top. Rock scramble required at the end - if you're not comfortable with some exposure, do South Rim instead!

Track notes:

Peak bagging
User: rodavenport - 4/12/2014  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3point5stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: N/A

Did this as an offshoot of the South rim loop. Nice views from the top. Not that impressive of a trail but once you get to the top you have a nice 360 view. It is a bit cluttered with all of the radio equipment.There were a lot of people on the trail by mid morning. Lots of noise from the biker crowd down in the basin. Not what I really want to hear when I'm in the mountains.

Great hike
User: texaskdog - 9/11/2013  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4point5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 10.00 Miles Duration: 6 hours

Erica hurt her knee 2 days before but decided to hike this (our honeymoon trip!) even though we've never hiked 10 miles, let alone up and down.  They say it is 7 hours.  Took us 3 hours up (a little less than 2 hours to the south rim split), half an hour at the top, 2.5 hours down, mainly since she had trouble with her knee going down.  We didn't see one person the entire 6 hours on this path.  Partway up a bluejay visited us and then 6 of his friends showed up (saw just one of them in that area on the way down) and saw one deer near the bottom.  Stairs throughout the whole hike but it's fairly level at first.  Lots of stairs before the split.  After the split, plenty of smooth switchbacks but the last part is very rocky.  When you get to the last big rocks at the top you have to head to the RIGHT and climb.  Very dangerous.  I chickened out but Erica went all the way up.  About a 3 foot climb up a shaky rock.  Saw lots of tarantulas.  Hike is well worth it.

Emory Peak by way of Pinnacles Trail
User: VTexan - 11/1/2008  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 9.00 Miles Duration: 7 hours, 30 minutes


I climbed Emory Peak a few years ago alone, then my wife and I climbed it last November. We camped the night before at the Basin campground, and unfortunately someone arrived at about 2 in the morning and was excessively noisy. We could have used that extra 2 hours sleep as I was dragging when we got up.

A high carb breakfast at the lodge is a good idea, as you'll need any energy you can muster. The trail is consistently up, nicely maintained, though not really well-marked.

Hikers on the way down tipped us off that they'd seen black bears, so we were pretty excited at the possibility. Sure enough, up on the saddle where the Pinnacles levels out and starts down towards Boot Canyon we came across one (see URL below for a picture). Afterwards, we went up the Emory Peak trail, and on the way down had another encounter with a mother a 2 yearling cubs. One tried to rush me, but I growled back and he ran off. VERY exciting!

A Difficult Climb, But Provides Great Views
User: Lone_Star - 3/9/2008  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 5stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 9.00 Miles Duration: 5 hours

I actually did this hike as part of my South Rim Trail hike, but I am reviewing it separately as it is listed as a separate trail here.

What can I say?  The trail is UP all the way to the top and it is not easy.  I would not recommend it for the elderly or people with health conditions.  It's DOWN all the way back, but your legs will be shot by then which makes it hard on your legs to brake.

You are afforded 360 degree views from the highest point in the park, but the views aren't as impressive as I found them to be on the Rim.  There are some large rock croppings at the top of the Peak where the antennaes are, which I saw some people climbing, but I would encourage you to resist the temptation unless you are a skilled rock climber.  If you were to get hurt at the top of the peak, you could be in trouble as medical help is a LONG ways away.   You can get beautiful views just walking around the top, so why risk breaking your neck?

360 degree view of park
User: wardbd1 - 12/1/2007  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 9.40 Miles Duration: 6 hours, 30 minutes
Emory Peak Trail via the Pinnacles Trail
User: craigalbritton - 2/25/2007  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 9.40 Miles Duration: 6 hours, 30 minutes
My father (60 years old) and I hiked up the Pinnacles Trail then on to Emory Peak from the Basin. The Pinnacles Trail is 3.5 miles from the Basin (~5200 feet) to the top of the Pinnacles Trail (~7000 feet) and took a leisurely 1:48. From there, it is a few minutes down to the Emory Peak trailhead. There are two "bear proof" boxes for gear if you so choose to leave it here. The trail then goes up to the peak in 1.2 miles and about 800 feet of elevation. This trail is not difficult but all uphill. Also, if it is hot outside I bet it is arduous as there are several exposed spots as you near the top. Just before the top, there are a couple good rock scrambles about 20-30 feet all told. Also, to reach the actual summit, you have to climb the last 25 feet or so. It is allegedly an "easy rock scramble" per the guides, but if you have any issues with vertigo or fear of heights, bad knees, etc. I would not suggest it. Be happy with the 7800 feet, no one will dispute your summit :) If you do choose to go up the last 25 feet, then go up the rock outcropping on the right as it is the true summit. You can go up both with the same amount of skill and nerve. This not a particularly difficult trail but definitely not one for the ultra-casual hiker.
A stout hike into a beautiful area - excellent!
User: johnbenton - 11/25/2006  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 9.00 Miles Duration: 6 hours
My son and I hiked Emory Peak two days after Thanksgiving in 2006. The weather was really great and the view outstanding. We saw deer and other wildlife near the trial and both javelina and gray fox elsewhere in the National Park. The hike provided little challenge for my 19 year-old son, but at almost 51 years of age I found it a pretty stout workout. Emory Peak isn't nearly the tallest point in Texas (there are at least 8 mountains of 8,000 ft. or more in the state), but it is the highest in the Chisos Mountains and certainly worth the effort. Highly recommended.
User: adipaulie - 4/27/2006  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 1point5stars
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: N/A
User: MikeFornal - 8/16/2005  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4point5stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 9.00 Miles Duration: N/A
Really fun and challenging hike. Well, it was more challenging than it needed to be since my friend and I each had about 55lbs with our bags... all the reading worried us about the water situation, heh. Worth the hike up there. However, I am absolutely (irrationally) terrified of bees and they were swarming in the hundreds up there towards the top. I don't mind ladybugs, but if you have some sort of fear of those, you'll be in your own personal hell at the top. There's some amazingly large numbers of them up there all bunched together on every branch.
User: Budokaninja - 8/16/2005  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 5stars Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 9.00 Miles Duration: N/A
I really enjoyed this hike it made me feel accomplished. I'm a big guy so getting myself plus 60 to 80 pounds on my back up that mountain made me feel like a king. But you better have a good hiking buddy though. Cause I think if you don't have someone there you might be tempted to turn back, I had a Good hiking buddy and still thought about turning back....But we made it....
User: CHEFSHUA - 5/29/2005  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 9.00 Miles Duration: 4 minutes
Great trek to the 3rd highest peak in TX
User: mstrunc - 3/28/2004  [View Log Page]
Rating: N/A Difficulty: 5stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 2.50 Miles Duration: N/A
Got an early start by leaving Pinnacles Campground at dawn. Still had the double whammy of climbing the upper Pinnacle trail, then looking forward to the 800 more feet or so to the peak. Dropped packs at the bear boxes and went light. Still so - tough on the old guy; my hiking buddies were 10 and 15 years younger. No wonder I was huffing and puffing. Scramble to the top was great and the views stunning. Too bad a lot of haze and pollution up from Mexico blurs the view to a large extent.
Tough climb, but worth it!
User: texas trekker - 4/19/2003  [View Log Page]
Rating: N/A Difficulty: 4point5stars Solitude: 1star
Distance: 1.00 Mile Duration: N/A
My second climb of this Big Bend high point. Not any easier this time, but a hike I really enjoy!