We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Santa Elena Canyon

Big Bend National Park, TX
Website
Save
Review Highlights
A must do.

If you are at Big Bend NP, you must take the hike to this canyon. At first it's a little tricky... read more

Reviewed 5 days ago
JuanOquendo
,
Lakeland, Florida
A Must See!

The Santa Elena Canyon Trail is a must see during your Big Bend trip. Located at the Southern end... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Back4morefun
,
Spring, Texas
via mobile
Read all 433 reviews
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Overview
More
Borders the western edge of Big Bend National Park.
  • Excellent77%
  • Very good18%
  • Average3%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“the river” (121 reviews)
“rio grande” (83 reviews)
“big bend” (86 reviews)
LOCATION
Big Bend National Park, TX
CONTACT
Website
Write a Review
Reviews (433)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language
  • More languages

1 - 10 of 408 reviews

Reviewed 5 days ago

If you are at Big Bend NP, you must take the hike to this canyon. At first it's a little tricky because the path is not well defined at the dry river crossing, but once you get across, It is about 3 miles round trip...More

Thank JuanOquendo
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

The Santa Elena Canyon Trail is a must see during your Big Bend trip. Located at the Southern end of the Ross Maxwell Scenic drive near Castalon. The trail starts from the parking lot and bathrooms are also available. Mexico is across the river but...More

Thank Back4morefun
Reviewed 1 week ago

This trail takes you to the Santa Elena Canyon. To be honest, we were exhausted at this point and ready to head to Marfa, so we just hiked up to the canyon, grabbed some photos and hiked back. The whole trail is 1.7 miles round...More

Thank loveyoumoretoo
Reviewed 1 week ago

After being worn out by the previous trails hiked, we decided to go to the canyon. Even though it was still 103 degrees, this was the best place on our vacation. I wish we really new really what it was all about because we would...More

Thank Mike B
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

A very nice, scenic, quiet hike. One gets some very pretty views of the canyon. The river was low, so one can stroll out into it and take nice pictures. Be prepared for heat, if you go in May, but still very worth while. Saw...More

Thank TacomaNorthshore
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

The first half of the hike is quite steep. Many older people chose not to try it. But it's not bad and the trail heads down to the water level at the end of the trail. Take lots of water!

2  Thank Wade W
Reviewed 5 weeks ago via mobile

The dog swam across what there was of the Rio. An illegal crossing! Hiking up the mountain for a grand view requires the proper clothing and sustenance. So be prepared

Thank Davidson H
Reviewed 17 May 2017

Santa Elena Canyon is a must visit while in the park. The steep canyon walls tower 1,500 ft above the river. A short hike with nice views of the canyon are also available.

Thank uedc
Reviewed 12 May 2017 via mobile

This is fairly strenuous but so worth it. Take plenty of water and take your time. Be sure to ware a hat and sunscreen. The views are simply amazing. 1500' high cliffs on either side. Mexico on one side and the USA on the other....More

2  Thank Karen G
Reviewed 8 May 2017

One of the key reasons for making the trek out to Big Bend was to take in Santa Elena Canyon and it did not disappoint. No trip to this corner of southwest Texas is complete without a visit and the Santa Elena trail makes it...More

Thank Andy C
Nearby
Nearby Restaurants
Starlight Theatre
783 reviews
17.31 km away
Chisos Mountains Lodge Restaurant
586 reviews
32.59 km away
DB's Rustic Iron BBQ
68 reviews
18.88 km away
Thirsty Goat Saloon
16 reviews
19.25 km away
Nearby Attractions
Big Bend National Park
719 reviews
9.48 km away
Far Flung Outdoor Center
278 reviews
17.16 km away
El Camino Del Rio
35 reviews
19.45 km away
Questions & AnswersAsk a question
mamaraines
We are disabled and cannot hike. Are there views that can be seen from the car?
15 April 2017|
Answer Show all 2 answers
Response from JulieCirlin | Reviewed this property |
Be sure and drive up to Sotol overlook. Also, if possible, you might look into using some local outfitters. Flying over the park or floating the river or taking a jeep ride might yield the best views for you. Finally, YES... More
1
Vote
Jim K
Why not with the dog?
12 March 2017|
Answer Show all 2 answers
Response from JulieCirlin | Reviewed this property |
Just want to add to the response above, that bears frequent the area and cougars too. All National Parks have these rules. If you want to hike with dogs, look at State Parks.
1
Vote