The Depths of Closed Canyon

Hidden in the far corner of the Big Bend Country are many canyons. The Rio Grande has carved several big and famous ones. However, there are some other canyons that maybe do not get as much notice, mainly because Santa Elena, Mariscal, and Boquillas are all so big and spectacular.

Closed Canyon is one of those lesser known canyons. It is a narrow side canyon that empties into the Rio Grande at Colorado Canyon. It also helps that it is in Big Bend Ranch State Park and not Big Bend National Park.

It is a spectacular little canyon that is well worth seeking out. It is often 200-300 ft deep and at places only 10-15 ft wide. It is almost a Utah like slot canyon.

The access is actually pretty easy, at a marked stop along the River Road between Lajitas and Presidio. A short walk puts you right into the base of it. From there it is a rocky and sandy walk.

It is also ever changing-no two visits will be the same.

The flash floods that race through here on occasion bring constant new features and obstacles to experience.

What is flat and sandy one trip may be gouged down to rock and a water obstacle to traverse your way around.

Some of those obstacles can be difficult to climb around. The rock has often been worn slick from the force of the water-even if its dry. Several chutes require climbing skills and one pour-off is a good 15 ft and requires a gear, a rope, and a rappel.

It is also a great place to be a photographer!

Since it is a canyon there is no need to be there in the dark, and mid day is just as good as the morning. That usually means I can photograph in the morning, catch breakfast, drive out to Closed Canyon and do it in mid-morning.

Here are a few views of it to give you a taste of what it is like. The orange walls can pick up nice colors when sunlight is bouncing off the top part into the depths of the canyon. The texture looks great in monochrome too.


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