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Santa Elena Canyon

Big Bend National Park, TX
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Review Highlights
Great hike, easy way to acclimate to Big Bend.

Bit of a hot day (110) but down in the Rio Grande it was much cooler. Water was low and we hiked a... read more

Reviewed 3 days ago
David j
,
Austin, United States
So Beautiful and Awe Inspiring

Loved Santa Elena Canyon. Remember to bring your water shoes and a small backpack so you can hike... read more

Reviewed 6 days ago
komplikated
,
Ladera Ranch, California
Read all 504 reviews
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Overview
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Borders the western edge of Big Bend National Park.
  • Excellent80%
  • Very good16%
  • Average2%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“the river” (136 reviews)
“rio grande” (99 reviews)
“big bend” (100 reviews)
LOCATION
Big Bend National Park, TX
CONTACT
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"the river"
in 136 reviews
"rio grande"
in 99 reviews
"big bend"
in 100 reviews
"short hike"
in 31 reviews
"hiking trail"
in 8 reviews
"easy hike"
in 28 reviews
"santa elena"
in 22 reviews
"water level"
in 6 reviews
"canoe trip"
in 8 reviews
"the ross maxwell scenic drive"
in 18 reviews
"great hike"
in 21 reviews
"main trail"
in 5 reviews
"hundred feet"
in 5 reviews
"awe inspiring"
in 6 reviews
"the cliff"
in 7 reviews
"early morning"
in 8 reviews
"parking lot"
in 17 reviews
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1 - 10 of 475 reviews

Reviewed 3 days ago

Bit of a hot day (110) but down in the Rio Grande it was much cooler. Water was low and we hiked a mile up the river. Beautiful views! Can't wait to do it again next year.

Thank David j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 days ago

Loved Santa Elena Canyon. Remember to bring your water shoes and a small backpack so you can hike way back into the canyon if the water levels are low enough.

Thank komplikated
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 days ago via mobile

At the end of a long drive, the view was spectacular. I was glad we had a breeze when we were there. 102 is hot even when there is a breeze.

Thank Dan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Drive the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive to the end - 8 miles past Castolon Visitor center. There's a large pulloff for the Santa Elena Canyon overlook. Drive past that pulloff & the road dead ends into the trailhead parking lot. It's a fairly large lot,...More

Thank ccindyk48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Wow what a stunning place to visit. The Rio grande is a welcome relief from the desert. It gets very hot out here but well worth a visit. The small Hike to the river is very easy everybody can do it. The hike into the...More

Thank Markclo1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

No trip to Big Bend can miss out this lovely canyon stroll. And it is a stroll - a quick wander that can take anything from 1/2 hr to couple of hours depending upon what you want to do. Great views indeed, very hot in...More

Thank Daleslady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

A must do attraction in Big Bend National Park. The relatively short but strenuous hike provides great views of the Rio Grande river cutting through the narrow Santa Elena canyon. The trail starts on sandy soil, but NPS has installed wooden slats for easy walking...More

Thank Previa1994
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We went on this relatively short hike up to the top and looked down on the Rio Grand, various views of the river until we got to the top and that was the best view. Then you can keep going but to us it looked...More

Thank Robert S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 April 2018

At Santa Elena the hike goes down to the Rio Grande and then up along the Canyon. The Canyon is magnificent. It is very narrow with straight, very tall walls. Too many photo ops around every corner, with blooming cactus along the way. The entire...More

Thank Robert S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 April 2018

At 1.5 miles round trip, most people should be able to do this hike. Quite a few stairs up and down (cut into rock), but the views are superb. You also can book canoe trips thru the canyon.

1  Thank Chuck H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Ask a question
Questions & Answers
kanika m
3 October 2017|
AnswerShow all 4 answers
Response from uedc | Reviewed this property |
Developed Campgrounds The National Park Service operates three developed front country campgrounds that provide drinking water and restroom facilities. The campgrounds use self-registration and the majority of sites are... More
1
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mamaraines
15 April 2017|
AnswerShow 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
2
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