Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend National Park

Distance: 0.8 mi one way
Location: eastern Big Bend National Park, Texas
Date: October 20, 2013

Entrance to Santa Elena Canyon

The Santa Elena Canyon trail is on of the most popular destinations in Big Bend National Park. This 0.8-mile trail enters the downstream end of Santa Elena Canyon and follows the narrow strip of land between the canyon's 1500-foot cliffs and the Rio Grande, which separates the United States from Mexico.


Rio Grande inside the canyon

The trail begins by crossing a stream (often just a gravel bar) that was quite muddy during my visit and then climbing up a few short switchbacks. At the top of the switchbacks you enter the canyon and then descend more gradually until you again return to river level.

The trail inside the canyon

Along the trail looking out the canyon with the Chisos Mountains in the background


© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.




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