Santa Elena Canyon Sunrise2

Santa Elena Canyon Sunrise2 - Sunrise Over the Rio Grande river in Big Bend National Park just as the sun rays cross over the horizon with this morning glow at Santa Elena Canyon view point before sunrise. From this angle we were able capture the early morning sunrise with the Octillo and Santa Elena Canyon and the Rio Grande flowing thru the landscape. The majestic Santa Elena Canyon is the most impressive in Big Bend National Park. The Santa Elena Canyon is visible for over ten miles away. You travel the scenic Ross Maxwell drive for about thirty miles to the end of the road where the awesome canyons emerge. The Rio Grande river follows beneath the straight Sierra Ponce cliffs for several miles and heads due west, cutting through the mountains via a deep, narrow gorge. For many miles upstream the river is trapped beneath the high walls, eventually emerging into a wider valley at the small town of Lajitas. 
In the park It is about an hour drive from the visitor center to the Santa Elena Canyons by the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. The drive down the Ross Maxwell drive can have some stunning views along the way so you have to stop some along the route. The road winds through the Chisos Mountain where you can see the canyon from miles away until you get toward the end where there is an overlook of the canyons or go a little further to the mouth of the canyon where the Rio grande emerges, before it take a hard turn along the canyon walls. Go a little further and you get to the trailhead where it just a short walk to the rivers edge and the Canyon wall are fully in view as the rio grande waters flow out a the mouth of the canyons. It will make you feel small as you view these canyon walls from below. The climb to the top would be about 1000 feet almost vertical something to remember. However it is not impossible to climb the cliffs as they are not that steep towards the lower half where several viewing area and trails take you different view in many directions. Photo © copyright by Bee Creek Photography - Tod Grubbs / Cynthia Hestand.

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