• Santa Elena Canyon

    Rio Grande

    Wild & Scenic River Texas

History & Culture

Candelilla Wax Operation
Remnants of a candelilla wax operation in the lower canyons
NPS Photo/Big Bend National Park
Prehistoric and historic sites are abundant along the river corridor, mostly on private property in the United States or Mexico. Preserving these sites is important in understanding human use and development along the river.

For additional information about the history and culture of the area, visit Big Bend National Park's History & Culture section.

Administrative History of the Park
Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River Administrative History (1988) [725kb PDF file]

Did You Know?

Men of Hill's expedition

Robert Hill, working for the U.S. Geological Survey, led the first expedition to successfully float the canyons of the Rio Grande in the area of Big Bend National Park. His trip, from Presidio to Langtry took over a month in the fall of 1899. More...