Here is a quick recap video from hiking Santa Elena Canyon at Big Bend National Park. One in a series of videos that will be coming out about this Texas national park.
This video was taken at the end of April 2022, and there have been a handful of comments about the water level of the river. Just know the water levels definitely go up and down, so don’t anticipate it to be this low on your visit. Rains in the area definitely add to the levels fairly quickly, so always take precautions and be aware of rain in the forecast.
With the water levels low, you could walk along the left bank of the river, but eventually, you ran out of room on dry ground, so it’s best to take the path to the right and hike on the designated trail.
Here you’ll have some quick elevation, but with good elevation comes great views of the water and the rock walls that surround you. You can view recent water flow readings here.
The Hiking Trail
The trail itself is well marked from the get-go (which is marked by a sole trailhead icon), but once you make your way up through the rocks, and down back towards the water, you can follow the path to the literal end, or you can just find an opening and relax on or near the water.
Along the way, you’ll see interpretive signs for the various plant life, and some history of this section of the park.
There are amazing rock walls and boulders here that do offer a bit of a break from the sun too.
There were a handful of people walking in the mud deeper into the carved out wall, but as you’ll notice in the video, just enjoying the shade to beat the heat was worth it.
The parking lot at the trailhead fills quickly, but you are allowed to park on the side of the road leading into the parking lot. And there are restrooms and picnic tables in this section as well. Otherwise, accommodations are sparse.
If you would like to paddle in the canyon, there is a separate section for kayakers to drop in at. Coincidentally this is also near the Santa Elena Canyon overlook. This area is an entirely different parking lot that has some additional day use usage.
If you’d like to learn more about this park check out the other video from Emory Peak.
Ready to make your Big Bend NP reservation to hike Santa Elena Canyon? Learn more on the official website.