Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Grand Canyon of Texas
The second largest canyon in the country lies in the heart of the Texas Panhandle. Visit Palo Duro Canyon State Park; experience the canyon's rugged beauty and enjoy its colorful history.
Things to Do
Explore the canyon by foot, mountain bike, horse or car. We have more than 30 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails. Camp, geocache, study nature or bird watch. During the summer, enjoy a performance of the outdoor musical drama TEXAS.
Choose from campsites with water and electricity, primitive drive-up sites, equestrian sites, or backpack camping areas. Stay in one of three cabins on the canyon's rim or four limited service cabins on the canyon floor. Rent our new pavilion for a wedding, reunion or meeting.
Stop by the Visitor Center on the canyon rim to learn more about the park. The park store at the Visitor Center sells books, pottery, jewelry and more. Look for souvenirs, snacks and meals at The Trading Post on the canyon floor.
This is by far one of the best state parks I've ever been to. The Mesquite Campground is all the way at the back of the park and when you're there you feel like you have the whole Canyon to yourself. There were numerous bike trails, hiking routes, uneven horse only trails. Plenty of bathrooms throughout the park and the Trading Post makes a pretty damn good burger. My drive through the rest of Texas will be spent thinking about how awesome this park experience was. Keep it up Texas!
Beautiful and scenic a hidden (literally) gem in the Texas panhandle. Who knew? That right here in flat Texas we have the second largest canyon in the US??? Well, it’s not as big as the Grand Canyon, but being able to drive through it makes it a real treat! Great adventure for kids and adults alike, with some breath taking vistas. There are, I believe, over 60 miles of canyon, some of which are over 800 feet tall, so it really is impressive. I really liked the stage show “Texas”, which is held in a natural amphitheater, and is truly impressive and professional, don’t miss it, as you won’t find anything better even on Broadway! You can camp, or hotel it, get up early and enjoy a cowboy breakfast and singalong, or take off road vehicles deep into the canyon, with knowledgeable guides, or ride horses through the canyon trails. All of which is worth doing, especially if you want to create an unforgettable vacation experience with kids; guaranteed they won’t forget! Happy Travels!
The downside is that the park is small, lacking the majesty of the grand Canyon and missing a river. The upside is also that the park is small. It means that it's more accessible. You can drive across the whole park, park not feet away from your lodging, and have all the full experience of sightseeing with much less training (I still reccomend physical training before undertaking any hike regardless of distance. Heat, exhaustion, and dehydration are serious). Oh and there is a small stream which you can get to if you explore enough to find a path down the steep banks. I am giving full ratings because of how well maintained and designed the park space is. I'm also impressed with the periodic events.
This park is beautiful. It's only 5 dollars to get in. You can just drive around and look or there are plenty of places to get out and walk around or hike. The rock garden trail was really cool. If you are into birds there were also a lot of them around, especially Cardinals.
As far as state parks go, this is one of the best in Texas. The primary attraction for tourists is the lighthouse trail, but I don't recommend going more than 3/4 of the way to the end of the trail since the payoff is negligible as you don't get a spectacular view of the lighthouse hoodoo, you just get a picnic table surrounded by trees (it makes a nice spot to rest, but if you're here for the hiking that shouldn't be a problem). The rock garden trail is *very* long and difficult, but fairly uninteresting since the views are about the same as entering the park in the first place. Only take it past the first half mile if you're here for a challenge. All of the central trails in the park are very interesting, brimming with life you won't see much of anywhere else in a state or national park. I highly recommend taking the time to learn the different species of flora and fauna from the park rangers and spending time out on the trails identifying things you come across. And please, leave no trace except if you find trash that some inconsiderate visitor left behind, then please pick up after them.