Below Santa Elena Canyon is an 80 mile section of the river that curves around the Chisos Mountains. It is little used and has few rapids, but the scenery is spectacular. The Black Dike, a volcanic sill extruding out of Dominguez Mountain, cuts across the river soon after it leaves the civilized country around Castolon and Santa Elena, Mexico. The river then begins a desert journey toward the southernmost point of the Big Bend in a high-banked channel that is trimmed and edged in carrizo cane. Then, nearing the "tip" of the Big Bend, you enter Mariscal Canyon which is a short but interesting "big" canyon. There are a couple of small rapids in the canyon and some good hiking in the midpoint of the canyon at a place called Cross Canyons where a side canyon from Mexico and one from Texas meet the Rio Grande. Below Mariscal are a couple of very short canyons, including San Vicente Canyon and Hot Springs Canyon. The Langford Hot Springs along the Texas side of the river are a great place to clean up before Rio Grande Village, a popular take out.
For thirty-five miles below Rio Grande Village, the Rio Grande cuts a path through the Sierra del Carmen to form Boquillas Canyon. There are only a few riffles in this very scenic and popular canyon. Evidence of candelilla wax rendering camps is common on the Mexican side of the river. The take out is at the Heath Canyon Ranch near the Mexican village of La Linda.
1. La Harmonia Store - A Good Place to Start your Trip Into the Great Unknown
2. The Murals at Lanford's Hot Springs
3. Kid Houses, Specialized Structures for Big Bend Goat Ranching
4. Who knows what the
wild and scenic river has in store?
5. Chuck Leinweber's report of a trip in February, 2009
Construction Styles Along the Rio Grande
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Copyright by Louis F. Aulbach, 2001-2009