Santa Elena canyon is dramatic and well worth the steep climb at the beginning and some rocky cliff edges.
You can see the canyon coming from a long way off.
This hike is rated Easy on AllTrails. We’d agree with the park service rating of moderate. It’s not very long but there are lots of stairs at the beginning, rocky footing, and cliffs. Most of the climbing is at the very beginning and the end.
The canyon is scenic and it was quiet down by the river at the end.
The sheer rocks walls are mesmerizing.
The view from the canyon mouth over the plain is also interesting. As was a colorful wasp in the dry stream bed. Depending on how much rain there’s been, you may have to wade Terlingua creek to get into the canyon.
We saw a cigar hiking. That was a first.