The trailhead begins on the SW side of the Chisos Mountain Visitor Center parking lot. The trailhead sign is visible from the parking lot.
From the huge sign to the SW of the parking lot, begin hiking easily through meadows and scrub oak. The hike passes a few backcountry campsites and trail junctions marked with steel signs. Follow the arrows and signs to Emory Peak. Ignore the miliages on the signs because most of them are wrong. At about 2.5 miles and 6400 ft, the trail begins climbing via easy switchbacks. At 3.5 miles, the trail gains the ridge where more backcountry campsites and a toilet will be seen. Drop down for a short distance on the other side of the ridge where a steel bear box and a trail junction will greet you.
Follow the trail to the right for one mile up towards Emory Peak. The trail begins steeply until gaining a ridge. The trail then follows the ridge with a gradual gain until reaching the summit block. Leave your trekking poles here. Once at the summit block, circle around to the right (north) around several boulders. After going around the boulders, the scramble goes up the north side for about 20 ft, then turns right (west) to reach the summit. There is some exposure during the entire scramble and on the summit. The last 60 ft of the final scramble is solid class 3. Beware of several radio antenna which are on the summit. Descend the same route to the trail junction.
If you return to the trailhead via the Pinnacles Trail the route is 9.0 miles with an elevation gain of 2342 ft.
After reaching the Pinnacles Trail junction you can also continue on for an additional three miles to the south rim and descend to the trailhead via the Laguna Meadow Trail
. If doing this climb via the Pinnacles Trail, then Emory Peak, and descent of the Laguna Meadow Trail, your day will be 14.6 miles.
Here is a map
of the Pinnacles Trail.
Day hike gear. Lots of water if you plan on doing the 14 mile loop.
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