Santa Elena Canyon

For quite some time now, I’ve wanted to visit this canyon inside Big Bend National Park in Texas. The dramatic look of Santa Elena Canyon, the way it is formed by sheer cliffs (as high as 1,500 feet – 457 meters) above the Rio Grand river, is amazing and beautiful. I love the way the canyon spans about 7 miles before it opens dramatically on the east side of the canyon. It narrows to as little as 30 feet at places – the south canyon wall is in one country, and the north canyon wall is in another country. The viewing area – at the far eastern side of the canyon, and the hiking trail that allows you to hike into the canyon – are the places I took most of my photos from.

It was a bit of an overcast day – more clouds farther north. Although I wished for more blue in the sky, what I got in my shots was quite pleasant. My black and whites are shot with my Nikon F2A and a yellow filter over a 24mm f/2.8 AI lens.

Santa Elena Canyon from the viewing area.
Taken with my F2A and Ilford HP5+ film – from the trail approaching the Rio Grand at the mouth of the canyon.
Mouth of the canyon from next to the Rio Grand – just a few feet from Mexico!
Some landscape in Big Bend National Park. I love the big views here; and the mountains and mesas in the distance.
More “layered” landscapes from Big Bend – with a touch of blue sky peeking through.

If you like nature, and would like to visit an unspoiled place, I would recommend Big Bend National Park. Of all the parks I’ve been to, Big Bend is easily the least commercialized and developed. Great for hiking and camping – not great if you expect “fancy” accommodations. Go if you can; enjoy nature; get off the grid and disconnect for a while – but I’d probably not recommend visiting in summer – the average high temp in June is 103.4 F (that’s almost 40 degrees for you Celsius fans)!