Rio Grande - Mariscal Canyon

Image of Mariscal Canyon at Cross Canyons Mariscal Canyon at Cross Canyons

Of the three primary canyons in Big Bend National Park, Mariscal may be the most beautiful. With walls rising to 1,200 feet and a navigable width of 8 feet in one place, boating through Mariscal Canyon is truly a unique experience. Mariscal also is home to nesting peregrine falcons in the spring. There are only two rapids in Mariscal: Rockpile is class II-III at about 100 meters into the canyon; Tight Squeeze, a Class III, should always be scouted.

Mariscal is the most isolated of the three primary BBNP river canyons due to the class V River Road shuttle. Use of regular passenger vehicles on this primitive road is discouraged. Arroyo washouts that make the road impassable are not uncommon. Mariscal can be extended from a 10 mile run to a 29 mile run by continuing on through San Vicente Canyon to Rio Grande Village takeout. The San Vicente road is closed and camping in the vicinity of San Vicente is discouraged.

Put-in: Talley is at the end of a very rough 30 mile drive.
10 mile take-out: Solis;
25 mile take-out: Gravel Pit backcountry camp;
28 mile take-out: Rio Grande Village

Click on the thumbnail images for larger JPEG images.

A view of Tight Squeeze looking upstream from river right (Mexico). This was a level of about 5 feet (RGV gage).

Another view of Tight Squeeze at about 5 feet (RGV gage).

Far Flung guide Laurie Kolbicz negotiating Tight Squeeze at about 5 feet (RGV gage).
Upstream view of Mariscal Canyon from the Texas Cross Canyons campsite. Cross Canyons is a break in the middle of Mariscal, about 4.5 miles from Talley.

Ancient Indian pictographs in Cross Canyons area.

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Last Updated: 12/20/2007