Wow – you've got to visit Palo Duro Canyon State Park at least once. The scenery and unusual rock formations are stunning, the miles of multi-use trails are fantastic and offer everything from easy to strenuous, and the campsites are some of the best in the Texas State Park system.
Palo Duro State Park encompasses over 29,000 acres in the northern section of Palo Duro Canyon which is 120 miles long, as much as 20 miles wide, and has a maximum depth of more than 800 feet. Elevation at the rim is 3,500 feet above sea level and it is often claimed that Palo Duro Canyon (aptly named "the Grand Canyon of Texas) is the second largest canyon in the United States. The largest, the Grand Canyon, is 277 miles long, 18 miles. wide, and 6,000 ft. deep. Palo Duro Canyon was formed by the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River which over millions of years has carved and created some unbelievable scenery and interesting geological rock formations. The rock formations are a multitude of colors including bright red claystone, white gypsum, plus yellow, gray, and lavender mudstone.
Palo Duro State Park is very well maintained and offers primitive, tent, and RV sites as well as cabins.
We start the day with a hearty breakfast and then try to make a decision on whether to hike or bike the trails and which trails to start with. For an easy ride, we like the Sunflower, Rio Grande, or Del Rio trail, each of which is about a 2 mile easy ride or hike along the base of the canyon with portions following the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River. The signature tail is the Lighthouse Trail and it's a must do if you're into hiking or mountain bikig. It is a moderately difficult, 5.75 mile round trip multi-use trial that climbs 940 feet through some stunning rock formations, beautiful scenery, and to the parks hallmark lighthouse hoodoo.
After a day of hiking, sitting around the campfire, enjoying a cold drink, and the starlit sky is a perfect end to the day. We have also enjoyed one of the horseback trail rides. And Comanche Trail Golf Course in Amarillo is a pretty good course.
Canyon and Amarillo are the closest towns and Amarillo (about 25 minutes north) has a number of things to see and do. Other nearby activities include Caprock Canyons State Park, Storyland Zoo for Children, Nielsen Memorial Museum, Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, West Texas A&M University, Wildcat Bluff Nature Center, and Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge.