Big Bend National Park: The Window, Santa Elena Canyon, Lower Burro Mesa Pour-Off

On our second day trip to Big Bend National Park, my friends and I visited The Window, Lower Burro Mesa Pour-Off, and Santa Elena Canyon.

The Window Trail is a scenic hike through Oak Creek Canyon to a point where it narrows to a viewpoint overlooking the Chisos Basin. The Window Trail is 3 to 5.6-miles round trip, depending on your starting location. The trail starts with a descent through Oak Creek Canyon, so this means the return trek is uphill. A lot of the rocks through this trail were quite slick, which was made worse by the fact Oak Creek was flowing. I stumbled at least twice. So I decided not to press my luck and stayed a few yards away from the window opening. There is also another trail, the Window View Trail, which is only a 0.3-mile round trip and is even wheelchair accessible. I have not been on that trail, but like everything in Big Bend, I’m sure it’s beautiful.

The Lower Burro Mesa Pour-off Trail is a 1-mile round trip walk through a gravel bed that ends at the base of a 100-foot pour-off. The pour-off itself is usually dry, but lets you see the massive channel it has carved out of the side of the canyon. We hoped the rain in the area would come down the cliff, but it remained dry. During the hike, we also spotted another smaller channel carved out by the pour-off.

The gorgeous Santa Elena Canyon can be experienced in several ways. There was an overlook, which gave you a panoramic view of the canyon and surrounding area. There is also a short walk to the Rio Grande itself and the mouth of Santa Elena Canyon. Another trail is available, but it requires crossing Terlingua Creek. On this day Terlingua Creek was flooded, so we settled for just soaking in the sights at the start of the trail.

Big Bend National Park always impresses. I mentioned the area had experienced some rain. The volume of rain made specific trails off-limits, like most of the natural springs. Even if it made a few sights challenging to enjoy, the rain made the whole park glow green.

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