Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Palo Duro Canyon State Park is in the Texas panhandle near the city of Amarillo and is the second largest canyon in the United States. This state park is one we have wanted to see for a long time but because it is a 9-hour drive from Houston, it would be difficult to make it during a weekend trip. Since we were heading north towards Colorado, we decided this park was a good stopping point to breakup the miles. In all we spent 3 nights below the rim of this beautiful wilderness.

GSL, Lighthouse, & Paseo Del Rio Trails

On our first full day in the park we hiked from the Givens, Spicer, Lowry (GSL) trailhead to the Lighthouse trail then connected back on the Paseo Del Rio trail. Our main objective of the hike was to reach “The Lighthouse”, a rock formation resembling its namesake. Having reached the Lighthouse, we took a break for lunch then returned via the Lighthouse Trail passing a formation known as “Capital Peak” then connected back to the GSL trailhead on the Paseo Del Rio Trail. On our way back we also passed a reconstruction of a 19th century dugout used by cowboys during the period.

The Lighthouse
Capital Peak

The Big Cave & Rock Garden

During our next exploration day, we visited “The Big Cave”, a large hole in the canyon wall approximately 20 feet wide and 30 feet tall. Then when hiked the Rock Garden Trail though an ancient landslide in the form of a large boulder field. We were most impressed with the large size of many of the boulders and were surprised to see that some of them had chalk from where climbers had scaled these immense rocks.

The Big Cave
Looking out of The Big Cave
The Rock Garden


This is one of the more scenic Texas State Parks and is worth a visit when passing through the panhandle.  Our only issue was because of it was early June when we visited, the temperatures were in excess of 100 degrees during the day. Next time we visit it will be in the spring or fall.

Thanks for reading!

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