Lost Mine Peak, though not as well known as Emory Peak, is the second highest peak in Big Bend National Park. At 7,550 ft, as listed by the National Park Service, Lost Mine is only 275 ft shorter than Emory. A short bushwhack and steep 4th class final pitch leave this lofty and beautiful peak climbed by less than 10 people a year. Lost Mine Peak was formed around 30 million years ago when a volcanic vent located somewhere in the Basin region erupted the last of Big Bend's Rhyolite magma. The Lost Mine Member, as this eruption of magma is called, is a part of the South Rim Formation. This formation covers the tops of Emory Peak, the South Rim, Crown Peak, and the Burro Mesa. The Rhyolite that formed much of the beautiful rock in other parts of the Chisos worked its magic again, as Lost Mine Peak has many spires, crevices, and ridges, which make it one of the most rugged and beautiful peaks in the park.
View of the Chisos from the Grapevine Hills. Photo © 01ACRViper
At the Panther Junction Visitor Center, take a right and head west until you reach the turnoff for the Basin. Take a left on this road and continue until you reach the top of Panther Pass. Just on the other side of the pass is the Lost Mine Trail parking lot. While this trail does not lead to the summit, it leads you to within a mile and 1000 feet of the summit. Another approach would be to access Pine Canyon via the 4wd road and hike/bushwhack your way to the peak.
Because Lost Mine Peak is located inside Big Bend National Park, there is a $15 per car entrance fee, which is good for 7 days. There are no fees to hike or climb, however a free backcountry permit is required to camp.
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend, TX 79834
From February 1st to July 15th parts of the Lost Mine Trail may be closed for Peregrin Falcon nesting. Check with Rangers for more details.
When To Climb
Late Fall, Winter, or early Spring are your best bets for climbing in the Chisos. It is possible to climb in the summer, but caution must be excercised when hiking in the extreme heat and sun.
The nearest developed camping is available in the Basin. Backcountry sites are availble throughout the Chisos, but require a free backcountry permit.
For up to date conditions, call Big Bend National Park at (915) 447-2251. As always when hiking in desert conditions, you must carry all the water you will be needing with you.