Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Santa Elena Canyon and Other Hikes in Big Bend

Castalon and Cottonwood Campground

With the weekend coming on, we decided to camp at what one of the Rangers suggested was the quietest and nicest campgrounds in the Park. The Cottonwood Campground (with the only cottonwood trees in sight) is just a couple miles further along the Rio Grande from Castalon, an abandoned army base (built in 1920) and now home to a store, visitor centre, ranger station and employee housing.

We did several short hikes in this area during the cooler morning hours and enjoyed beautiful sunrises and sunsets, the grass-munching Javelinas, the hoo-hoo-ing of the resident Great Horned Owls and the chirping of the bright red Vermillion Flycatchers. We also saw a few red cardinals near Santa Elena Canyon. 

Javelinas in the campground

Santa Elena Canyon and the Rio Grande

From miles away, you can see the gap in the cliff created by the Santa Elena Canyon. It's a beautiful area and well worth the short hike! It would have been nice to rent kayaks and get on the water for a while. 

Andrew standing on riverbank gives some perspective of size of canyon.

Kayaks on the water give some perspective of canyon size.

Tuff Canyon and Tough Beauty

As with the Santa Elena hike, we chose to do the Tuff Canyon hike so that we were assured of a little bit of shade along the way.

It’s amazing that such delicate-looking beauty can survive in such tough conditions.

1 comment:

  1. I loved that Santa Elena Canyon when we visited a few years ago. And so very close to Mejico! It's a great opportunity to practise one's Spanish - I am back at lessons now and really enjoying them. I have a hankering to get to the American SW again! Thanks for sharing your adventures.