The Grand Canyon of Texas! We highly recommend this park or if you are traveling in the heart ❤️ of the panhandle of Texas this is a must see with views of the second largest canyon in the country. Visit Palo Duro Canyon State Park; experience the canyon’s rugged beauty and enjoy its colorful history. We enjoyed our stop at the Visitor Center with a fascinating stories about the canyon and a great place to beat the heat. The Visitor Center sells books, pottery, jewelry and more. Looking 👀 for souvenirs, snacks, and meals at The Trading Post on the canyon floor. The Trading post claims the best burgers 🍔 in Texas. We did not try. Sorry can give no advise.
So far this year, the Lighthouse hike at Palo Duro has been our #1 hike of the year. It is considered a moderate 7 mile out and back trail. We read and watched youtube videos on the lighthouse hike to get tips and we are glad we did. We started the hike at 730 am. Pro tip: In July, the temps get hot fast. When we finished hike it was 103 degrees. I will say it again start early. The trail head is easy to find. We recommend bringing a lot of water. The park recommends a gallon per person. If you start early, I do not think you will need this much water 💦.The walk into the canyon is impressive with the sun just coming up over the rim. Be careful a 4 foot diamond back rattle snake 🐍 was crossing the path ahead of us. The snake did not seem to notice us so we stood back and watched him crawl in the desert.
The hike is relative flat until the last 1/4 mile scramble to the top. You can sit at picnic 🧺 tables if you are not up to finishing but the rewards to get to the top are incredible. We watched younger adults go even higher and hang their legs off the ledge of cliffs for selfies. We don’t recommend. Why not bring a lunch 🍴 and enjoy the views for a while. You have earned them.
Explore the canyon by 🦶 foot (bring lots of water), mountain bike, horse or car. The drive around the canyon was rewarding with views of the rim. This is more than 30 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails. Camp, geocache, study nature or bird watch. During the summer, enjoy a performance of TEXAS Outdoor Musical.
Choose from campsites with water and electricity, tent sites, equestrian sites, or backpack camping areas. Beware in the summer is gets hot 🥵 with temps at 115 when we visited in July. Stay in one of three cabins on the canyon’s rim or four Cow Camp cabins on the canyon floor. Rent one of our pavilions for a wedding, reunion or meeting.
New to Palo Duro Canyon: Glamping (luxury camping)! Each glamping site is fully furnished with air conditioning, luxury rustic furnishings, refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers, games, bicycles, gas grills and gas fire pits, covered porches with rockers, porch swings, and much more. More information on glamping at Palo Duro Canyon.
Take a virtual tour with our Interactive Trails Map.
Trails and backpack campsites may close due to wet weather or poor conditions. Contact the park, or check our Facebook page, for trail status.
Ride on trails through 1,500 acres set aside for horseback riding. You can also share two other trails with hikers and mountain bikers.
- Bring your own horses (original Coggins papers required). Park your trailer at the equestrian campground. Bring a water bucket for your horse.
- Take a guided tour. Old West Stables on the canyon floor leads tours for the whole family to Timber Creek Canyon. They also offer souvenirs and a snack bar. Reservations required; call (806) 488-2180.
TEXAS Outdoor Musical
TEXAS Outdoor Musical runs Tuesdays through Sundays in the summer at the Pioneer Amphitheater in the park. Watch the stories, struggles and triumphs of early settlers. The family-friendly show has singing, dancing, fireworks and lots of Texas humor!
Come early for a barbecue dinner on our covered patio.
A quick history lesson.
The canyon was formed by the Prairie Dog Town Fork Red River, which initially winds along the level surface of the Llano Estacado of West Texas, then suddenly and dramatically runs off the Caprock Escarpment. Water erosionover the millennia has shaped the canyon’s geological formations.
Notable canyon formations include caves and hoodoos. One of the best-known and the major signature feature of the canyon is the Lighthouse Rock.
Quick link to Palo Duro State Park Website
Drone flight around Palo Duro Camp Ground
I am wondering about pets being allowed on hikes, etc. I will be traveling with my small dog who does well on a leash and I always clean up after her. I know some Nat’l parks don’t allow dogs. Wondering if you have noticed signs along your journeys regarding dogs?
Thanks in advance!
Most of the National Parks 🏞, US Forests 🌳,and State parks that we have been visiting are very dog friendly. Usually on most of the trails your dog must be kept on a leash. I would recommend checking each parks website to be safe but so far all seem to welcome mans/woman’s best friend.