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.

Review of Santa Elena Canyon

Santa Elena Canyon
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Borders the western edge of Big Bend National Park.
Reviewed 16 March 2014

I felt like this could've been a part of the Garden of Eden, even my 4 year old was blown away by his surroundings-The hike is fairly easy and in the shade of the canyon so pretty much anyone can do it -Words and pics don't do it justice, you have to see it for yourself

1  Thank wabarobber
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (479)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
  • More languages
All reviews
"the river"
in 131 reviews
"rio grande"
in 94 reviews
"short hike"
in 29 reviews
"santa elena"
in 20 reviews
"water level"
in 6 reviews
"easy hike"
in 25 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
"visit to big bend"
in 8 reviews
"parking lot"
in 17 reviews
"the cliff"
in 6 reviews
"awe inspiring"
in 5 reviews
"trail starts"
in 8 reviews
"worth the trip"
in 8 reviews

356 - 360 of 479 reviews

Reviewed 16 March 2014

One of the fine places to visit in the big bend national park. Drive all the way from the entrance to this place and watch all the scenic view points like Tuffs Canyon and Mule ears and come here. Hike up about half a mile for a great view of the canyon. Even if you cannot hike, you will fell very good at the base. Throw some stones into the water, become a child, and feel the peace. There is one men and one women's restroom at the base. Have half a day for this trip. If you are coming from Terlingua, pay the park entrance fee and take a right immediately on the Ross MAxwell Scenic Drive. This is a beautiful place. Half a day needed.

Thank willowbrooksam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2014

I lived in the area for many years and I'm very familiar with this area. Before mentioning how beautiful this area is, it's important to talk SAFETY: This is a desert area. Before embarking on this journey, be sure to stop at a small store either in Terlingua or Study Butte and be certain you have enough water for yourself and everyone with you! That's muey importante. Fill your gas tank up as there won't be any other places to fill up. I have had two flats on my new model vehicles in this area over the years so be certain you have an inflated spare tire and a tire iron, just in case. Be certain you are dressed properly. Depending on the time of the year, it can get hot enough to fry and egg during the day and freezing cold at night (should something occur where you become stranded after dark, ie. a flat tire). There may or may NOT be cell phone service so don't think you'll be able to call AAA if your car has trouble. Even if you do get a signal, it might be many hours before someone comes to assist you, especially on a holiday or weekend. Wear sunscreen or proper clothing to shield you from the sun. If you have mobility needs such as a wheelchair or inability to walk and climb, you won't be able to enjoy the actual "river" part of the trip, but you can certainly enjoy the trip down and the view once you get there. AND, since 9-11, security on the border was beefed up, so fully expect to be stopped by authorities at least once if not more than that- even if you've done nothing wrong. Also, don't venture over onto The Mexican side of the border unless you're very daring- no, the Mexicans are great, but an over jealous American Border Patrol Agent may become your worst nightmare. Also, depending on the time of year, always be wary of hornets, wasps and snakes near the "river". Be wary of other animals (I've seen a couple of mountain lions) that might head to the water for a drink (unlikely when people are present).

Ok, if I haven't scared off the faint of heart, this is one of the most peaceful areas of the Big Bend National Park. It has a very special ominous glory to it. If you happen to take advantage of one of the camping facilities at night, you might cry when you see all of the stars in the sky. It's not uncommon to see the complete Milky Way late into the night as well as billions of stars you can't see when near a city. This is no Grand Canyon or Carlsbad Cavern- it's unique all on its own. The drive out is one of the best parts. Mother Nature at her most clever. Luckily, this is not a tourist trap as most tourist won't make it out this far. Enjoy the peace and QUIET.

3  Thank Cy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 March 2014

We drove to the trail from Chisos Basin and it took us almost an hour. That's the only downside. And expected in this vast Park.

The hike is not difficult. A lot of incline at the very beginning, but the rest is easy. Once you get into the canyon, it's so peaceful. The water of the Rio Grande is really refreshing after being in the dry mountains. There are the most beautiful bird calls that echo through the canyon. That was one of my favorite parts. There are interesting rocks and really huge boulders. Lots of vegetation and massive cliffs that make you feel so small. Another treat for the eyes and ears at Big Bend.

Thank Starinhon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
See more reviews
Reviewed 11 March 2014 via mobile

I did this hike with my early elementary school children and we managed well. It is a quick hike. The beginning is a fair amount of stairs, but the rest is a fairly easy ascent and descent. Once into the canyon, it is beautiful. It was our favorite hike of our trip.

1  Thank Txtnk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Santa Elena Canyon also viewed

Big Bend National Park, TX
Big Bend National Park, TX
Big Bend National Park, TX
Big Bend National Park, TX

Been to Santa Elena Canyon? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing