Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas

 We have enjoyed Texas State Parks when ever we have visited them in the past.  During our first year of travel, some one strongly suggested a visit to the Palo Duro Canyon State Park.  Finally our travel plans allowed for a visit.  We scheduled a week long stay to enjoy the park as much as possible.

The Palo Duro Canyon is advertised as the second largest canyon in the United States.  I’ll have to take their word for it, because we have seen some mighty big canyons, and this one doesn’t seem to fit the bill.  That said, it is well worth the visit and we enjoyed our stay here.

Our site was in the Mesquite Campground located at the far end of the park.  This allowed us to drive the length of the park each time travelled.  

We continued our birdwatching on our hikes in the park.  We were fortunate to have a flock of Wild Turkey that walked through on a regular basis.

There were many hiking and biking opportunities for us in the park.  My longest bike ride was the almost 14 miles that I rode from our campsite to the Lighthouse formation.  Out on the Juniper Cliffside and Lighthouse trails and return on the Rojo Grande Trail.

The Lighthouse

The Red Cliffs along the Rojo Grande Trail


When riding a mountian bike or hiking in rough terrain it is vital to wear rugged footwear to protect your feet from injury.

 Hikes were on the Juniper Cliffside, the Sunflower and the Juniper Riverside trails.  My last hike was on the Rock Garden to the Lower Comanche trail.  All of these really just out of our camp site.

The Rock Garden

 The closest city to the park is Canyon Texas.  We would go into town for supplies and to check in.  There is no connectivity at the park so we needed a trip into town from time to time.

We took one opportunity to visit a remarkable museum found on the campus of the West Texas A&M University.  The Panhandle Plains Historical Museum is well worth the visit.  Plan on 2 to 3 hours for your visit. 



Charles Goodnight established his ranch in Palo Duro Canyon in the late 1800’s.  The park maintains token Longhorns to recognize that ranching heritage.

 As with many National and State Parks, through the mid 1930’s to the mid 1940’s the Civilian Conservation Corps built much of the original infrastructure in Palo Duro Canyon.  This included the El Coronado Lodge (now the visitor center) and the long road from the rim to the bottom of the canyon.  And these stone cabins found in the southern part of the park that can now be reserved for a stay.

Magnificent sunsets are common in the park.  They are always a reason to return.


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