South Rim Trek via Pinnacles and Boot Canyon Trails -- Hot Springs

Big Bend National Park Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
Bruno and I on our way up Pinnacles

BBNP with Ali, Cesar, and Bruno.  August 25-30, 2005.

August is the best and worst time to visit Big Bend, Texas.  The pros -- no one is there.  You have the place all to yourself.  The downfall, as you guessed, is the heat.

My husband Bruno and I, along with our friends from Mexico, Cesar and Ali, decided to spend a week in BBNP.  We started our week with a 2 night hike up in the Chisos Mountains.  We hiked the South Rim trail via Pinnacles.  I recommend going up Pinnacles and coming down Laguna Meadow.  Pinnacles is pretty much straight up and down.  Laguna Meadow had a ton of switch backs, which helps on the knees when coming down.

The hike is about 6.5 miles up to the rim.  You have about a 2,000 ft.

View from NE4
elevation gain.  Not that bad of a hike.  Just take your time, and plenty of water.  Once you get up to Boulder Meadow, you are in the trees -- it is cooler and the shade is much appreciated.  You read a lot about the spring at Boot Canyon, but do not rely on it running.  We met 2 guys who took just enought water to get up the mountain, and planned on filtering the water at Boot Canyon.  Once they arrived, the water was still and green.  They had no other choice to filter the water and drink it.  I think it tastes like katchup, so do yourself a favor and pack up ALL the water you will need on the mountain. 

The best camping site on the rim is NE4.  You have the most spectacular view of the desert, Santa Elena Cayon and Mule Ears.

  You can see miles into Mexico.  The site is a bit off the trail, so you are totally out by yourself.  Use the bear boxes for everything.  There are Black Bears and Mountain Lions in the Chisos.

The toilets in the Chisos are sawdust composting toilets.  Very clean and non smelly. 

Other great camping sites include Laguna West (LW1, LW3) and Colima Trail (CO2, CO3).  I also recommend these sites.  

Coming down Laguna Meadow, you have spectacular views of the Basin.  Take your time, don't cut the switchbacks and watch out for snakes.  

After 2 nights in the Chisos, our bodies need a little bit of love from the hot springs.  The drive on 118 down to the springs and Rio Grand Village is a beautiful one.

Great Vistas
  When you get the the springs, take the 1 mile loop hike past the old motel and the many pictographs on the Hot Springs Canyon Rim.  The old motel used to be a health spa back in the early 1900s.  You will also find the remains of the old post office and the stone bath house.  Even in the August heat, you must bathe in the hot springs. 

  I worked as a Natural History Intrepreter at BBNP back in 2002, and it was one of the most awesome experiences of my life.   I got to live, work and play in BBNP.  I met many great souls.  While I worked there, I got to hike pretty much every trail in the park.  All but the Ernst Basin Complex and Mesa de Anguila. 

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Bruno and I on our way up Pinnacles
Bruno and I on our way up Pinnacles
View from NE4
View from NE4
Great Vistas
Great Vistas
Sponsored Links
Big Bend National Park
photo by: mnico78