We will be doing a day hike and only have time for Emory Peak or South Rim. Any suggestions on which one to pick? Thanks!
So we ended up doing both and found it quite managable. For us the Emory Peak hike was a lot of fun but many people didn't make the final climb to the top due to the rock climbing involved. I would not say it was difficult or dangerous, but if you have a fear of hights the South Rim may be the better option. We did both.
We are in our early 30s and active. We left at 9:30, got to Emory at 12, South Rim at 2:15, and back to the parking lot at 5. We went up through the Pinnacles Trail and back via Laguna Meadows Trail (which is not a meadow). Cover was decent on much of Pinnacles and Laguna but you are pretty exposed on the rest of the trails. Our feet got a few blisters and we felt it a little the next day, but not horible. We each carried a little over 2L of water, which was more than enough, at least in early March.
The view from the sumit of Emory is incredible, and the drop is extreme. I think that South Rim and Emory are different but equaly beautiful, but Emory is more interesting to get to, if you are into that. South Rim is very dramatic and there is a great lookout area.
We hired a guide to hike the South Rim. I don’t know all of the individual trails that we took to complete the day long hike. There may have been some that were optional, in addition to the main hike. I know we came down through Boot Canyon which may have been the scenic route. I did not plan the itinerary for the day.
Oh wait! Now I remember. We were given the option to hike Emory Peak first thing. The guide knew that we were nubs because we said “sure thing! Let’s go!” We had no experience and would have been toast that day if we tried Emory Peak. The guide knew it. He probably asks all his inexperienced hikers that....and if they respond enthusiastically, yet stupidly as we did, he knows where he stands. Don’t try it the first time out if you’ve never done the South Rim alone. I went into it blind, LOVED IT but we never would have made Emory Peak with our level of experience. I’m 56, in excellent shape but had not a lot of previous hiking experience. The South Rim was a handful. About 7 hours of Fast hiking up and down a very rocky trail. But so incredibly worth it.
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