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Santa Elena Canyon

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Address: Big Bend National Park, TX
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Description:

Borders the western edge of Big Bend National Park.

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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Easy Trail with Nice Canyon and River Views

A lot of folks rave about this trail. And, I tend to agree. I understand why it's one of the most popular trails in the park, because it's one of the easiest walks and shortest... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 2 days ago
OhWowMan
,
Anchorage, Alaska
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387 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 366: English reviews
Anchorage, Alaska
Level Contributor
57 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

A lot of folks rave about this trail. And, I tend to agree. I understand why it's one of the most popular trails in the park, because it's one of the easiest walks and shortest distances. There are some steep parts, and some elevation gain, but the steps and handrails seem to make it less strenuous. Excellent views all along... More 

Helpful?
Thank OhWowMan
Ringgold, Georgia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

You really need to see this part of BBNP. The scenery here is so varied and different than other parts of the desert landscape. You may need to wade through some water at the beginning of the trail if it has been especially wet recently, but we hopped across a small trickle with no problem. The steep canyon walls are... More 

Helpful?
Thank Kelly L
Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

This was by far our favorite trail in Big Bend. It is at farthest point on western side and best as starting point and work back so trails and time maximized in the park. The water below us was moving quickly with a lone paddle boarder. Stopping to enjoy the view and myriad of sunlight on the canyon walls was... More 

Helpful?
Thank Philip D
St. Petersburg, Florida
Level Contributor
255 reviews
107 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

(Warning: two young adults from Central Florida here for a week) Merely approaching the mouth of this giant canyon is awe-inspiring… and surprising because there’s a tiny beach. There were a handful of visitors on the beach tanning, throwing Frisbees, playing with their dogs… it almost seemed surreal. VARIED ELEVATION AND GROUND BUT EASY We could never figure out if... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Pyra-Danny
Lewis Center, Ohio
Level Contributor
313 reviews
128 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

This was a great stop. We were glad we went the entire way and got out to take the trail and get a closer look. My wife scaled the rocks on the trail while I entertained the dog in the parking lot. This is a must see and worth the trip to the park.

Helpful?
1 Thank Mark R
minnesota
Level Contributor
111 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Once you get there, don't give up on the hike into Santa Elena Canyon. There IS a way: follow others or look for the stepping stones to cross the little wash and get on to the sandbar. From there work back along the side creek and find the way up the embankment. There is a little trail, well marked with... More 

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3 Thank Tonnatraveler
Battle Creek, Michigan
Level Contributor
32 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Made the trip to Big Bend wonderful. We followed the path and hiked up the wall across Terlingua Creek and then down to the side of the river. It is every bit as beautiful as the pictures. We hiked it January 30- not crowded at all, and the path up the rocks was a good one but I can see... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Duncoduncare
Level Contributor
31 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

What a magnificent structure of nature! 1500 ft tall rock walls surround you as you walk a very easy trail into the canyon. You take a series of switchbacks up a concrete ramp to get to the main trail, and there are a lot of people. Definitely one of the more popular tourist attractions, but for a good reason. Great... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Stephanie D
Norman, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
757 reviews
344 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 546 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Our first time on this trail did not disappoint. You have to check carefully to see where you can cross the almost dry Terlingua Creek (sometimes this is not possible if Rio Grande is too high), but once you do you are on a good trail through the dense riverine vegetation. The trail then goes up on a series of... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Sarracenia
Durham, North Carolina
Level Contributor
74 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

This is one of the shorter hikes in Big Bend National Park. Unfortunately it is WAY at the bottom south west corner of the park. But then again, the drive down there is 28 miles of pavement and absolutely stunning views. The hike itself is easy, but there are several stairs up and down to get actually into the canyon.... More 

Helpful?
Thank KelliCompton

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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?