Not all hikes need to be grueling endeavors. If you’re looking for a nice walk with some beautiful scenery, try exploring the Santa Elena Canyon Trail in Big Bend National Park.
The Santa Elena Canyon Trail is only about 1.5 miles long. That’s relatively short by hiking standards. It’s also mostly shaded, making it a nice choice on a hot Texas day, but the area still gets hot in the summer, so make sure you bring plenty of water.
The difficulty level of this trail is moderate. Some of the switchbacks and paths are even paved and have handrails. So, the going is much easier than it otherwise would be. Be warned, however, you will need to climb a number of stairs near the beginning of the hike. Unfortunately, people unable to climb stairs won’t be able to participate.
You’ll be treated to beautiful scenery as you walk the trail, from 1500-foot cliffs to magnificent views of the Rio Grande.
Photo: @glengauthier via Twenty20
Plenty of animals also make the trail their home, although the area is too small for large mammals such as deer and bears. Instead, expect to see unusual insects along with many different bird species.
The Santa Elena Canyon Trail is popular, so you might want to go when things are a little less crowded. Early in the morning or later in the afternoon are usually good times to go and avoid the crowds.
However, there have been reports of theft and vandalism in the area. You may want to check with the Park Service as to what kinds of precautions are best.
Photo: @samirov via Twenty20
The trail crosses Terlingua Creek. This creek is no problem to cross during dry season. However, during the rainy season, it can create an insurmountable barrier. Again, you should probably check with the Park Service to see if the trail is open. Driving down to Big Bend National Park can be a long trip, especially if your preferred hiking trail is closed!
Hiking has taken on a fearsome reputation, but really, it can be as pleasant as a walk in the woods. Check out the Santa Elena Canyon trail and experience beautiful scenery while getting some exercise. What could be better than that?