Under two miles, the trail to the Santa Elena Canyon Overlook was one of the most serene and spectacular moments in the park. 1.8 miles round trip. Through tall grass to the river and the mouth of the canyon. Then up a few paved switchbacks with cacti jutting across the trail and fossilized seashells peeping out of the rock walls. A gradual descent on a sandy path to the river bank where you can sit and hear the river, watch the big birds circle above, see the sun shine on the rocks. The sediment in the water turns the river a murky, sea-foam green and the rocks of the canyon are smooth, as if polished.