The trip from Panther Junction to Castolon and Santa Elena Canyon highlights the geologic splendor Big Bend is famous for, and offers many scenic overlooks and exhibits along the way. Whenever we saw “Exhibit Ahead” signs I would have Juan pull over so we could take a picture and learn more about that location.
Our first “Exhibit Ahead” stop was Sotol Vista Overlook. From this viewpoint perched high above the desert floor we had an unparalleled vista of the entire western side of Big Bend National Park, including magnificent Santa Elena Canyon in the distance.
We continued on this scenic drive to the Castolon Historic District. Established as a cavalry camp in the early Twentieth Century, Castolon later served as the headquarters of the La Harmonia Company. We stopped at the visitors center before continuing on to Santa Elena Canyon.
The Rio Grande has sliced a 1,500-foot vertical chasm out of pure limestone to form one of the most magnificent canyons in the park. As you look down Santa Elena Canyon, the left wall of the canyon is in Mexico, while the right wall is in Texas. A fabulous trail follows the river upstream then drops down to the canyon floor. We saw a group putting in their rafts to take a float trip through the canyon.
Tanya Denise Tucker (born October 10, 1958, in Seminole, Texas) is an American country music artist who had her first hit, “Delta Dawn”, in 1972 at the age of 13. Over the succeeding decades, Tucker became one of the few child performers to mature into adulthood without losing her audience, and during the course of her career, she notched a streak of top-10 and top-40 hits.