One of our favorite places to visit when we are in the panhandle area is Palo Duro Canyon, a State Park, located near Amarillo and Canyon. Rich visited Palo Duro Canyon when he was young, and we tend to revisit it ever so often when we are in the area.

Palo Duro Canyon from Entrance Road

A Little About Palo Duro Canyon

Palo Duro Canyon is 120 miles long and 20 miles wide and up to 800 feet deep, being formed millions of years ago. The name Palo Duro probably came from early Spanish settlers and means “hard wood”.  It is the second largest canyon in the United States, featuring a rugged terrain with interesting rock formations and scenic vistas.

View of Palo Duro Canyon

It was hot the day we were there, even though it was mid to late September. We enjoyed a hike to The Cave, which is a moderate distance from the road, and stopped at a few other areas to enjoy the views, check out rock formations and observe Longhorn Steer. Who knew you would see Longhorn here?

Rich As He Was Descending From The Cave
Longhorn Steer at Palo Duro Canyon

The Canyon Store and Museum

In 1933, the state of Texas purchased land to establish Palo Duro Canyon State Park. The Visitor Center and Museum were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and are made of native stone. The Store and Museum overlook the canyon, providing majestic views of the landscape below. The Museum features exhibits about the history of the Palo Duro Canyon area, archeological and geological features, and the early settlers. There is a scenic loop that visitors can drive while they explore and take in the beauty of the area.

Visitor Center and Museum at Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Visitor Center and Museum at Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Museum at Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Good to Know

Palo Duro Canyon State Park is a fee area. There are picnic areas where you can enjoy a lunch or snack, hiking trails at different lengths and difficulty, and mountain biking trails. There is also a camping area for those who would like to spend the night.  For more information, you can visit their website here. It is probably best to visit late September through May as it is dry, arid, and hot during summer months. Be sure to have plenty of water with you.

If you enjoy the beauty of natural splendors and are a nature enthusiast, Palo Duro Canyon is a great place to add to your travel bucket list.

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