When you think of canyons, your first thought may be the Grand Canyon in Arizona or Bryce Canyon in Utah. Both are beautiful but a long drive for us Texans. So if you’re looking for some canyons in Texas where you can hike, bike, camp, and explore some beautiful scenery, then check out these canyons and gorges in Texas – I’m sure you’ll be impressed! Use this canyon map to find a canyon near you. If you like canyons you might also like caves – check out this page of Texas Caves.
Texas Canyons & Gorges
Blanco Canyon is one of several canyons that have been cut by rivers into the east face of the Llano Estacado, including Yellow House Canyon, Tule Canyon, and Palo Duro Canyon. The canyon runs for 34 miles gradually widens from it’s beginning to 10 miles across at its mouth and it gradually deepens from 50′ to 300′ to 500′.
Big Bend National Park
Boquillas Canyon is the longest and deepest canyon in Big Bend National Park. The vertical relief from nearby Pico del Carmen, to river level is over 7,000 feet, somewhat deeper than the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River. You can take a 1.4 mile hike to the entrance of the Canyon, but the best way to explore the 33 mile Boquillas Canyon is an overnight rafting or kayaking trip.
Canyon Lake, Texas
One of the newest gorges at 2 decades old, Canyon Lake Gorge was formed when the Guadalupe River flooded and caused water to flow out of Canyon Lake. The flooding created a mile long gorge and exposed fossils over 100 million years old as well as dinosaur tracks in the mud. A tour guide is required to lead you on a designated hiking trail.
Caprock Canyon State Park is quiet and peaceful and home to campsites, 90 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, free roaming bison, prairie dogs, deer, roadrunners, and outstanding scenery. Lake Theo offers no-wake boating, fishing, and swimming.
This mile long canyon was named after a nesting pair of golden eagles observed nearby. The canyon has been home to many archaeological and geological expeditions over the past century that explored the natural shelters that were home to Native Americans up to 13,500 year ago.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
A scenic canyon within Guadalupe Mountains National Park in west Texas, McKittrick Canyon has beautiful foliage (brilliant reds, subtle yellows, and deep browns), prickly pear cacti, blacktail rattlers, steep canyon walls, and crystal clear blue skies. The Park is home to a variety of different trails from easy to strenuous with over 2000 feet in elevation gain.
Palo Duro Canyon (aptly named “the Grand Canyon of Texas) is the second only to the largest canyon in the United States – the Grand Canyon! Palo Duro Canyon is 120 miles long, as much as 20 miles wide, and has a maximum depth of more than 800 feet. The scenery is beautiful and unique, the camping is excellent, the variety of biking and hiking trails is very diverse, and the wildlife is abundant. Read Texas Outside’s Review of Palo Duro Canyon to learn more about this fantastic Texas Canyon.
Big Bend National Park
Santa Elena canyon is the most impressive canyon in Big Bend and was formed by movement along the Terlingua fault. The river flows through narrow slots with sheer cliffs that rise up to 1500 feet above the river. There is a short hiking trail into the mouth of the Canyon but the best way to view the grandeur of Santa Elena Canyon is to raft or kayak down the canyon on the Rio Grande River – read about Texas Outside Rafting Trip Through Santa Elena Canyon.