Friends of Big Bend National Park
Big Bend Conservancy

Over-estimating your experience or under-estimating the terrain in a place like Big Bend can result in serious injury or death. Use the information and advice found here wisely. Climb/Hike/Camp/Drive at your own risk.

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Paddleboarding up Santa Elena?

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Offline Gustafson

  • Jack Rabbit
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  • 26
Paddleboarding up Santa Elena?
« on: November 18, 2019, 04:05:52 PM »
I'm headed to the park next week with my daughter, and we plan to hike the Santa Elena Canyon as part of the trip. I read somewhere that one can paddle up the canyon and turn around. While it is unlikely we might do that, I was wondering whether it is permitted to paddle board up the canyon, and whether the current water level and speed will even allow for it from a practical standpoint. Thank you for your inputs!

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Offline dprather

  • Mountain Lion
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Re: Paddleboarding up Santa Elena?
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2019, 09:52:29 PM »
There are a couple of outfitters out in the Bend who keep tabs on water levels and who can give you advice.   Call Desert Sports (432-371-2727).  They have been kind to take my calls. 
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline Gustafson

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Re: Paddleboarding up Santa Elena?
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2019, 10:09:10 PM »
Thanks for the tip and their contact info!!

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Offline Gustafson

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Re: Paddleboarding up Santa Elena?
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2019, 10:29:20 AM »
Just spoke to Mike at Desert Sports. He said that the water flow is currently too high (600 cfs) for paddling up the canyon, and is due to water being released upstream on the Mexican side. He said that the water level needs to be under 200 cfs at the Castolon gauge to make the upstream trip enjoyable for casual paddlers. He pointed me to the daily report on their website (desertsportstx dot com) to keep an eye on the water flows. He mentioned there are some quiet sections upstream of the water release in BBSRP, but those are usually float trips requiring a shuttle back.

 


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