Views second only to Emory Peak
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK
The Rio Grande River comes down out of Colorado heads south through New Mexico and passes through El Paso Texas where it now becomes the border between the United States and Mexico. The river flows 1254 miles in a South East direction toward the Gulf of Mexico but before getting there it makes a turn to the North East, creating a momentary bend in the river, This Is Big Bend National Park. The mountains in this park are a continuation of a mountain range in Mexico which will continue up into the US through Guadalupe National Park and into New Mexico. The highest Point in this park is Emory Peak at 7800 feet. This park is probably one of the remotest parks in the contiguous United States but despite being in the middle of nowhere has a lot to offer in hiking, camping and general sightseeing.
EAST RIM TRAIL
To the south of Emory Peak is a relatively flat area with an elevation of about 7000 feet surrounded by high cliffs on the east, south and west sides. The South and East Rim Trails follow along this rim. The Park Labels them as the South and East Rim Trails but I have seen them called the West, Northeast and Southeast Rim Trails also. Access to this Trail is not direct and must be done in combination of other trails, Laguna Meadow Trail or Boot Canyon and Pinnacles Trails .These are fairly level trails changing only a couple hundred feet over their course. This area is through mainly Juniper and Oak forests. Views along the rim are spectacular and in slightly different directions depending on which rim you are on. The rim trails make for a good extended loop hike from Chisos Basin, either a day hike (for the veteran hikers) or an overnight if not wanting to do the 17 miles in one day. Be prepared to bring all water you will require because water in the Chisos Mountains is not always available
The eastern-most portion of the East Rim Trail is closed Feb 1 - May 31 for peregrine falcon nesting. Contact Big Bend National Park at (432) 477-2251 with any questions regarding the closure.
The East Rim Trail has its west end point at the junction with the southern end of the Boot Canyon Trail and South Rim Trail and its eastern end point at a midpoint along the Boot Canyon Trail. Starting from the western end at the junction with the Boot Canyon and South Rim Trail, the trail follows along the south rim set back a bit from the rim. There are still views from the rim along this portion in spite of being set back a bit. The trail along the first 0.8 miles goes up and down small ravines changing elevation a couple 100 feet. After this first section the trail hangs closer to the south Rim and begins it’s almost 150 foot climb up to the East Rim. There are spectacular views to the south but most impressive are the views of the South Rim itself. At the end of this ascent is the East Rim at about 7500 feet, just a couple hundred feet below the highest point in the Chisos Mountains, Emory Peak. Views to the East are great, overlooking Juniper Canyon, Boot Canyon and Crown Mountain. The East Rim Trail is now heading north and for the next mile will descend 500 feet to the Junction with the Boot canyon Trail.
The trails are well maintained and signed. There are campsites along the South Rim Trail bear boxes are also available. Be aware there are restrictions on the East end of the East Rim Trail as mentioned earlier.
Check out the Official Route.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.