Overall Route Rating
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4.8 out of 5 Rider Rating 4.8
5 Reviews

Castolon-Santa Elena Canyon Ride

Motorcycle Route Author

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By Brainsprain (35 McR Points) on May 17, 2012

Rider Reviews

jimfoy
2 McR Points
December 9, 2012
I rode this earlier this week. It is one of the…
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FJRFreak
43 McR Points
March 16, 2015
This is a fun, twisty-hilly road, in good shape,…
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Written Directions

In Big Bend National Park, begin at the intersection of 118 and Costolon/Santa Elena Canyon. Head south on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. The road ends at the Santa Elena Canyon Overlook and Trial unless you want to take the gravel Old Maverick Road back to Maverick Junction to make a loop.

Scenery

You will see weeping vistas of semi arid dessert, mountains and cliffs, rock formations of a variety of rock types, and at the end the incredible cliffs that physically divide the U.S. from Mexico. No fence is needed. The forces of the universe make crossing nearly impossible. Yet, you can hike into the Santa Elena Canyon (in Mexico) if the Rio Grande is not running which it wasn't when I was there (April, 2012). Words are inadequate to describe Big Bend. Beautiful is not a word I'd use. Sublime is a better.

Drive Enjoyment

The road is a well maintained park road with many historical and geographic markers. It twists and turns with a few switchbacks and tight turns. The downer for some may be the speed limit of 45 and that the Park Service monitors speed. I made a friend who got a ticket. You may be able to go 52 safely which I did a lot. It's hard to keep it down in such open space and my V-Strom was impatient at being held back.

Tourism Opportunities

I guess this depends on the meaning of amenities. There are numerous hiking trails and off road rides one can take. There is no gas available so you need to gas up before entering the park. There is only one gas depot in the park which is near Panther Junction. Near the end of the road, there is a park store and visitors center. Various drinks and snacks are available as are restrooms and picnic tables in shaded areas. At the end there is a nice picnic area with some shade trees. I was able to park my bike in an unofficial space under a tree. It was 100 so I was grateful. There are numerous places to pull off and overlook parks. All are worth considering.

Motorcycle Road Additional info

It is hard for me to believe this route has not been posted before. It is a fun ride and delightful, perhaps it will be more so on a cooler day. Some historic places include the Sam Neil Ranch and the Homer Wilson Ranch. Formations of note are the Chimneys and the Mule Ears.

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Castolon-Santa Elena Canyon Ride
Castolon-Santa Elena Canyon Ride
Castolon-Santa Elena Canyon Ride
Share Your Comments ( 5 )
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jimfoy
December 9, 2012
2 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Touring
I rode this earlier this week. It is one of the most beautiful routes I have ever seen. Rugged mountains, sweeping vistas, giant canyons -- it has it all. Some think that the nearby river road from Terlingua to Presidio is better, but in my mind this one is tops.
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2 riders found this road review useful
FJRFreak
March 16, 2015
43 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Sport - Touring
This is a fun, twisty-hilly road, in good shape, with beautiful scenery to stop and read or hike, etc. The final destination at Santa Elena Canyon is worth the trip. We did this just last week and the weather was beautiful. Be prepared to HAVE to stop and hike into the canyon. My only compliant about riding in Big Bend is the speed limit is a low 45mph.
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andyman
January 9, 2014
2 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Touring
Amazingly beautiful road all the way down to the river. Yes the speed limit is a bummer but it is worth it. This is a must ride, not on a fun scale but on a scenery scale. Marvelous!
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