Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend NP

We drove on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive from Chisos Basin Campground for about an hour to go to Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend NP. The drive was really scenic and beautiful. The trailhead was closed when we got there, so we just had to make the most of our visit, take some pictures and enjoy the drive back with amazing views.

Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend NP
The Rio Grande through Santa Elena Canyon

Santa Elena Canyon is one of the most famous of the seven canyons in BBNP. It sits at the end of the staggeringly beautiful Scenic Drive. It features dramatic views of the Rio Grande flowing through the chasm formed by the sheer canyon walls. The river serves as an international boundary between United States and Mexico.

To access the trail into the canyon, you must first cross the bed of Terlingua Creek, and climb a short but steep bank. However, conditions change constantly at this location, which may be impassable due to flooding during the summer rainy season. So be cautious.

Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend NP
Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park

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Fun fact about Santa Elena Canyon: The Santa Elena Canyon walls and limestone cliffs are 1,500 feet in some spots. It is as tall as the Central Park Tower in New York.

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