Outbound Collective logo

Emory Peak via Pinnacles Trail

Big Bend National Park, Texas

based on 7 reviews



9.44 miles

Elevation Gain

2401 ft

Route Type



Added by Warren Goh

Explore a hidden gem of Texas with amazing views, natural hot springs, and a well-marked, easy access trail.

The hike to Emory Peak zig-zags up the face of the mountain, and only when you reach the peak do you get the full, 360 view of Big Bend National Park. Trust me, it's gorgeous.

You get some pretty amazing views before reaching the peak, too, but you are hiking on the inside of the “horseshoe” loop, so you have the full view of the basin.

Start from the carpark, where there is a bathroom and trail maps. The fun begins around ¼ mile to the peak, as the marked trail disappears and you have to navigate up narrow passages, and around trees and boulders. The last 50 feet will require you to navigate up a rock face, though it won't require crampons. After a scramble on all fours getting up to the peak, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view.

Remember to bring a windbreaker, as it gets cold at the peak. You can also find a small enclave away from the windchill on the face and relax for a bit.

All in all, an incredible national park in an unexpected place.

Read More

Download the Outbound mobile app

Find adventures and camping on the go, share photos, use GPX tracks, and download maps for offline use.

Get the app
Download GPX File


Hot Springs

Emory Peak via Pinnacles Trail Reviews

Hiked this a few weeks ago with friends. We went up the Pinnacles Trail, up to Emory Peak, and then over to the South Rim, and returned via Laguna Meadows. Long day, around 16 miles, but tons of great views. Arguably the views along the South Rim are more enjoyable but from Emory you can see into the Chisos Basin which was really neat. A little bit of scrambling needed to summit either rocky prominence of Emory, not too bad but maybe a bit intimidating for some.

My buddy and I did the South Rim Trail and ended up adding Emory Peak to our backpacking trip on the 2nd day. Very happy with our decision. When you climb to the top, you think that's it, but there is actually a steep, rocky wall you can climb up to reach the highest peak. It's sketchy, but worth it. You will see 360 views of the entire park!

The views from this summit are incredible, and the scramble/climb to the top makes it one of the more memorable summits! Also, and if you crave a solid meal after a summit hike like I do, then I highly recommend hitting up Big Bend Pizza in Marathon, TX on your way out of the park. It was a great surprise to find such a great pizza place to celebrate a great trip in the park!

The switchbacks felt endless. It was always worth it when we made it to the top. As always watch out for rattlesnacks.

There's a reason so many people flock south during the cooler months. The locals call them Winter Texans, and you can imagine that a place this popular for its mild winters can be a scorch fest in the summer. That being said, heed Warren's advice and pack enough water. Emory Peak is well worth the trip (and its a helluva long drive to miss out on the spectacular view from the top).

One of my favorite spots at Big Bend. Great views and a perfect spot to relax on a beautiful afternoon.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


Backpack to the Southeast Rim of the Chisos

Hike South Rim Trail Boot Springs Trail

Window View Trail

Chisos Mountains Loop

Hike the Outer Mountain Loop

Window Trail in Big Bend