Apr 24

Palo Duro Canyon State Park – Texas

Palo Duro Canyon State Park Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the United States.  It is a 60 mile long and 800 foot deep canyon that is located in the Texas panhandle.  Of course, if one is talking about canyons they naturally think of the Grand Canyon and Palo Duro Canyon is called affectionately known as “The Grand Canyon of Texas.”   The canyon is also home to one of the largest state parks in the U.S. at over 26,000 acres called by the same name as the canyon.
Red River

One of the interesting things about visiting this area was to see the variation in the land from prairie to almost a southwestern look of cacti, red rock formations, mesas, and mesquite.  I visited this area in March on probably what was a record day heat wise.  I was prepared for it having plenty of water, but my body was not ready for summer like conditions that early in spring.  Despite the heat I did have a good time there in what few hours I spend at Palo Duro Canyon State Park before I reached my final destination for that day which was Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Palo Duro

Palo Duro Canyon State Park has a variety of things there from hiking, viewing flora and fauna, fishing, camping, horseback riding, mountain biking, and looking at the geological features that make up the canyon.  My time there was spent driving the main park road stopping at the turnouts to take a few pictures and hiking the five mile road to the park’s main rock feature the Lighthouse.  The hike was well worth it and I was impressed with the park staff, they were constantly going up and down the trail in a four wheeler checking on people and giving water.  I am not sure if they do that all the time or it was just because it was so unseasonably warm the day that I was there.
Lighthouse Rock

This canyon could never compare to the splendor that is the Grand Canyon, but for being in the panhandle of Texas I was impressed by it.  I am glad that I stopped on my way to Albuquerque it gave me a chance to stretch out my legs and see a different side of Texas.  If you end up going on a hot day or anytime during the summer make sure you take the proper precautions and bring lots of water and check the many warnings and thermostats that they have up in the park.  Plus, no Texas state park would be complete without a few Texas longhorns and I saw them near the park entrance.
Palo Duro Canyon

I would highly recommend going to Palo Duro Canyon State Park if you are traveling through the area or live around the Texas panhandle.  I plan on taking Karen there someday as we are heading west on some vacation in the future or when we are on some extended weekend trip.  However, I would not spend more than a day or two there and I would not make it the sole reason that I was going west there are just way too many other exceptional things out West.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park Sign

Palo Duro Canyon
Located south of Amarillo and just east of the city of Canyon on TX 217
Cost as of this posting $5.00 per person
For more information about Palo Duro Canyon State Park visit http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/palo_duro/

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