Santa Elena Canyon

A highlight of Big Bend not to be missed is sunrise at Santa Elena Canyon. In fact it may be THE highlight of the park. There are many fantastic things to see in this park but this is my favorite.

To stand at this huge 1500' tall wall and look into this narrow canyon that the Rio Grande has carved through it is an amazing way to start the day.

On my last trip I started very early in the morning, as in I was at the canyon by 4am. I wanted to get there in the dark and to try to light paint the walls. I set my tripod up, framed up the canyon, and got this first image.

It was just what I was hoping for.
Later after it got closer to sunrise other people started to show up, so I was glad I started early!

When the sun did rise it lit up the canyon walls in that incredible orange glow. I made this second image then so I could capture the most orange wall as I could.

Then after enjoying the sunrise, you should never miss the hike into the canyon itself. It is not a long hike, not even a mile before the trail runs out and you are left staring at huge rock walls and the river at one of the narrowest spots in the canyon.

After doing that hike and looking upstream at that narrow spot I started to walk out and that
was when I made the last image here. This is about halfway out where I could be on a rock and get a great view of the river, the huge walls of the canyon and make out the distant Chisos Mountains.

What a great way to start the day.

And if you ever get to Big Bend put it on your must see list!


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