Santa Elena Canyon Trail

EASY 85 reviews
#5 of 60 trails in

Santa Elena Canyon Trail is a 1.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Terlingua, Texas that offers the chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.

DISTANCE
1.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
137 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

wildlife

no dogs

This trail begins at the end of the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. Although a short trail, it is one of the grandest spectacles in the park. After crossing Terlingua Creek, the trail climbs several short switchbacks and then gradually descends along the banks of the Rio Grande. Hikers are surrounded by lush riparian vegetation and 1,500-foot towering vertical cliffs of solid limestone. The trail ends where canyon walls meet the river. Take a lunch and enjoy the scene. Note: Following rains, flash floods, or periods of high water, Terlingua creek can be impassable, effectively closing the trail.

hiking
1 day ago

hiking
11 days ago

hiking
23 days ago

hiking
26 days ago

hiking
26 days ago

Realy cool view of the canyon and river. Very easy and short trail. Bring good shoes for sandy surfaces

1 month ago

Amazing view overlooking this canyon

hiking
2 months ago

Nice quick hike. When you're in the canyon and looking straight up it really is a site to behold. It's also really cool to know that one half of the canyon is Texas, but right across the river is Mexico. I do wish when you got to the end of the trail there was a better "payoff" view, where you could see clearly both sides of the canyon, but that's me being picky. Just seeing the Rio Grande and the towering canyon walls was worth the trip.

hiking
2 months ago

Gorgeous views. There is a massive boulder on the trail the size of a small house that is nice to sit under on a hot day. The rock formations rising on each side of the rio are mesmerizing. Make sure to bring more than enough water--it was 114 F the day I went and I ran out before the day was up.

3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Great, short hike with opportunities for rock climbing and fantastic views. My son loved it.

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

4 months ago

The canyon walls on this hike are spectacular. Must see when in Big Bend.

hiking
5 months ago

6 months ago

Great views of the Canyon. Can continue walking in the river once the trail ends.

hiking
6 months ago

Absolutely beautiful views of the canyon walls, easy trail for the whole family.

hiking
6 months ago

Fairly easy walk into the Canyon with the Rio Grande several hundred feet below. Requires an initial climb then levels out. Popular hike so expect to see lots of people. Great views of the Chisos looking back out of the canyon.

6 months ago

6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

I'm obsessed with this canyon. Be prepared that you may have to wade across the river to get to the trail. Bring a separate pair of shoes.