One of the classic hikes in Big Bend National Park is the loop from Chisos Basin to the South Rim, where one has a spectacular view south over Mexico. I was fortunate to be able to do this hike in 2014. This time the 12 plus miles it entailed was deemed too much for my still recovering body. But I wanted The LovedOne to experience the diverse forest (including Douglas fir, Aspen, Arizona cypress, Maple, Ponderosa pine, and Madrone) found high in the Chisos Mountains. So calling on my ever reliable tough and stupid ethos, I sketched out a shorter loop (only 9 miles with 2,000 feet of gain 🙄 ) up the Pinnacles Trail, along the Boot Canyon Trail, over the Colima Trail, and down the Laguna Meadow Trail.

I realized that this loop was stretching the hiking is good for your recovery thing to its limits (and possibly beyond) but I figured I could ask for forgiveness (and more pain meds) later. Fortunately, this hike went off without any issues for me and it was immensely enjoyable for The LovedOne – so win, win! We didn’t get the big southern view but we did enjoy the forest and encountered several Carmen white-tailed deer, a colorful rock squirrel, a roadrunner, and two black bears (a mother and yearling) on our journey. It proved the perfect (and unexpectedly exciting) way to wrap-up our visit to Big Bend. 🙂

Ward Mountain from the Pinnacles Trail
A Carmen white-tailed deer grazing alongside the trail
Vernon Bailey Peak from the Pinnacles Trail
Morning at Boulder Meadow
Through oak trees along the Pinnacles Trail
Indian Pink
Along the Boot Canyon Trail
The rocky “boot” in Boot Canyon
Continuing along the Boot Canyon Trail
Through the forest along the Boot Canyon Trail
Climbing the Colima Trail to the saddle south of Emory Peak
Descending the Laguna Meadow Trail below Emory Peak
It had been a very good year for cactus flowers
On the Laguna Meadow Trail to the saddle northwest of Emory Peak
Casa Grande Peak and the Chisos Mountains Lodge (arrow) from the Laguna Meadow Trail
We gingerly passed two black bears 🐻 at one of these well-shaded turns in the trail
Descending the Laguna Meadow Trail
Ward Mountain (L) and Vernon Bailey Peak (center) from the Laguna Meadow Trail
Almost back to the Basin
A roadrunner escorted us back to the lodge 🙂