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.
Want the lowest hotel prices? You're in the right place. We check 200+ sites for you.

Santa Elena Canyon

Certificate of Excellence
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Get directions
Address: Big Bend National Park, TX
Website
Description:

Borders the western edge of Big Bend National Park.

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 375 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 271
    Excellent
  • 66
    Very good
  • 14
    Average
  • 1
    Poor
  • 2
    Terrible
A Great Short Hike

This is a must hike for any visit to Big Bend National Park. It is a short and reasonably easy hike. It is a busy trail, probably one of the heaviest traveled. If you have time to... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 2 days ago
SeeCMO
,
Clearmont, Missouri
Add Photo Write a Review
Turn Your Opinions into Points!
Turn your opinions into JPMiles
Turn your opinions into PAYBACK Points
*You can enroll in only one programme at a time to earn rewards for reviews.
JPMiles / Payback Arrow
JPMiles / PAYBACK
50

375 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language
  • More
Showing 354: English reviews
Clearmont, Missouri
Level Contributor
106 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

This is a must hike for any visit to Big Bend National Park. It is a short and reasonably easy hike. It is a busy trail, probably one of the heaviest traveled. If you have time to do only one hike this is the one although there are many, many wonderful trails. There is a climb early in the hike... More 

Helpful?
Thank SeeCMO
Syracuse, New York
Level Contributor
35 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Beautiful, very cool, along the Rio Grande. It wasn't clear at first how to cross the little inlet to get to the trail on the other side. The hike has a hill with switchbacking steps, but you can take your time and enjoy the view. If you're in Big Bend, definitely definitely do this.

Helpful?
Thank Annelise R
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
462 reviews
158 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

Go to this canyon early in the day if the weather is hot because it does get warm here. The walk is fairly easy from the parking lot to the end of the line which is the Rio Grande River. There were quite a few people milling about looking at the deep canyon walls, but no one seemed to go... More 

Helpful?
Thank houstonnative47
Louisiana, United States
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

The canyon hike was an easy walk to its end. In my opinion, its the most interesting of the ones i saw, but i am also a bit harder to be awed. Passing through underbrush, up concrete and rock switch backs, then back down through river side vegetation. Very clear path and easy to follow. Nice views of the river... More 

Helpful?
Thank Ciera A
Avon, Ohio
Level Contributor
1,224 reviews
810 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2,383 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

The Rio Grande carves a number of canyons through the limestone as it passes along the southern border of Big Bend National Park and the 1,500 foot (457m) deep, Santa Elena Canyon is the most spectacular and easily accessible at the end of the 30 mile (48k) long Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive on the western side of the park. Just... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Steve1362
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
36 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

From afar this is a majestic canyon that appears to be a intimidating but once you're at the base of it, you realize that it is an approachable hike along the ridge. My wife and I spent an hour taking our time walking along the ridge and followed the river. Overall its safe and easy to walk and offers awesome... More 

Helpful?
Thank Charles T
Texas
Level Contributor
77 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

We strapped our 5 month old on and headed up to the canyon. The walk is not hard at all. The paths have been taken care of and make it smooth. You will definitely run into a bunch of other people so don't think you will have it all to yourself. Highly recommend this hike. We went in the afternoon,... More 

Helpful?
Thank fortheloveoffood10
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
59 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

The water level was quite low. We were able to follow along the steep path along the inside of the canyon by the water a pretty good ways in. We arrived as the sun was setting and the view was gorgeous. Highly recommended!

Helpful?
Thank J_and_J_Travelers_12
Kansas
Level Contributor
61 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Great hike! This was the busiest hike on our 2 1/2 day exploration of Big Bend, but still very enjoyable. It was a little confusing to find the right spot to cross the creek and begin the hike, but an older gentleman volunteer assisted us. Fairly easy hike, and the views were great. Recommended!

Helpful?
Thank ksmom2Kansas
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
61 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Do not miss this! A wonderful sight, a relatively easy hike that we completed in a short couple of hours - it is really a family friendly hike - we saw people with babies, older people, children, young adults - everyone was represented! Views on a sunny Texan day are unparalleled!

Helpful?
Thank Jeordie84

Travellers who viewed Santa Elena Canyon also viewed

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

Been to Santa Elena Canyon? Share your experiences!

Turn Your Opinions into Points!
Turn your opinions into JPMiles
Turn your opinions into PAYBACK Points
*You can enroll in only one programme at a time to earn rewards for reviews.
JPMiles / PAYBACK
50
JPMiles / Payback Arrow
Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Santa Elena Canyon and other visitors
4 questions
Ask a question

See all questions (4)

Questions? Get answers from Santa Elena Canyon staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?