Wednesday, March 14, 2018

February 18 (part 1) - Day 4 in Big Bend National Park - Hiking Santa Elena Canyon

I took a lot of pictures today, so I decided to make this a 2 part post.

We brought our inflatable canoe with us on the trip in case we got the chance to do some paddling on the Rio Grande River. The intention was to paddle up river into the Santa Elena Canyon, then float back down to where we put in. There's also a trail that leads into the canyon, so we decided to hike it first so we could check out the put in area and see a small sampling of the scenery on foot.

The canyon area is on the opposite end of the park from where we were camped, so we got up early and headed that way. We arrived just after sunrise and were greeted with some nice early morning light. The first picture below is looking down river from the mouth of the canyon and the second is looking into the canyon.

sunrise on the Rio Grande River
looking into the Santa Elena Canyon

The trail is an out and back and listed at 1.7 miles round trip. It begins by switchbacking up for some better views looking both ways.

note the 2 people on the trail for scale

The trail then heads back down to river level, continues for a bit longer along the river, then ends. The only way to go any farther is to wade, swim, or paddle. This is an amazing area and a must see if you go to Big Bend. I could go on and on about how beautiful it is. Hopefully these pictures will do it justice.

looking back up into the park from back at the beginning of the trail

hoping this would be us in a couple of days

There's a lot more to see on this side of the park and it was still early, so we headed towards out next destination - the Lower Burro Mesa Pour-off  Trail.

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