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Santa Elena Canyon Professional Review and Guide
"This hike takes you into the mouth of one of the three major canyons of the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park. Because the 1,500-foot-deep canyon is spectacular and the hike is easy, this trail is one of the most popular in the park. Summer temperatures frequently exceed 100°F, so hike early in the morning from about April through October and carry water. Fortunately, there is shade in the canyon. Although there is little net elevation change in the hike, the trail does require a short 80-foot climb up the canyon wall and back down to river level."
--Laurence Parent, Hiking Big Bend National Park (Falcon Guides).
easy hike with breathtaking views of the canyon
This is easy and very pretty canyon trail with the Rio Grande being next to you. We hiked this around 10 am. Although it was a cool day the climb up and over into the canyon was quite warm. Once in the canyon it was lovely.
I've done this hike numerous times. It's an easy hike. Access is not available when the river is up.
Short easy trail (at least during good weather) into the mouth of Santa Elena Canyon along the Rio Grande. Enjoyed watching the vultures sun themselves along the canyon wall.
This trip was quite a bit more of an adventure than the milage indicates - at least when rain is coming down heavily! We drove down to the trailhead through fog, rain, hail and lightning. The dramatic maw of the canyon as you approach it in the fog and rain is quite beautiful. There was a drizzle at the parking lot, and Terilinga creek was 3 fast moving boot deep streams through the wide flood bed. While being well warned of the danger of flash floods we decided to try it. We crossed over and enjoyed the short muddy water filled trail up the canyon. We had it to ourselves, and felt privledged, However, upon return the creek had risen and coalesced into 2 VERY fast moving and wide grit filled torrents. While this should have not been unexpected, I immediately regretted our frivolous behavior. We managed to cross back in the knee deep rushing water, my wife clinging to my arm. This was a 4 star experience because of the solitude and the wildness this canyon wears in a storm. In the sun it would be less, but still something to see.
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