Once visitors have experienced Big Bend’s  awe-inspiring day hikes, they often feel compelled to take things to the next level. A popular follow-up excursion is to one of the backcountry campsites in the High Chisos Mountains along the trail system to the South Rim. These campsites, varying from one to eight miles each way, are accessible only by foot and most involve an overnight trek.
For these trips, an overnight backcountry permit is required ($10), available only in person up to 24 hours in advance at all park visitor centers. Park staff can assist you with trip planning based on your needs and current trail conditions.
At 14 miles in length, the South Rim trek takes at least eight hours to complete. The Laguna Meadows trail traverses through a dense forest popular with birders thanks to the abundant oak, maples, junipers, and pinion pine. Be sure to bring plenty of water (at least a gallon per person daily), food, sturdy shoes, and sunscreen.
Another popular backpacking trip is to the Emory Peak campsite, located 3.7 miles from the trailhead via the Pinnacles Trail. Since it’s the highest elevation in the park and therefore a quest to be conquered, Emory Peak is a natural draw for many hikers. Not surprisingly, it’s rocky and steep, but the payoff comes in astounding views of Boot Canyon and the backside and summit of Emory Peak.