Texas State Parks: Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Located near Amarillo, Palo Duro Canyon State Park is situated in the Texas Panhandle. It has been open to the public since 1934. The Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River is credited with creating Palo Duro Canyon, which has been credited with being the second largest canyon in the United States by some. Its name, Palo Duro, means “hard wood” and was given to the park by Spanish explorers who were fascinated by the richness of the juniper and mesquite trees within the park area.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park provides excellent opportunities for camping. Cabin rentals, tent sites, and RV sites provide the electricity and water needed to make the place feel like home. Camping is available in a variety of choices. Backpacking sites are featured in the southern section beneath the turnaround. A 30-minute hike is required to reach this site, fire is not permitted, and water must be carried in from the trailhead.

Equestrian camping sites are provided to those who can show proof of a recent Coggins Test (within the last year.) Established sites feature access to a corral, water, fire ring, and table. A short walk provides access to showers and restrooms. Primitive campsites are available and offer water, fire ring, and table. Electrical sites provide a fire ring, water, table, electricity, and paved parking. Two vintage cabins are available for rental as well.

Picnicking is a delight beneath the cottonwood trees. Tables and grills are provided by the park. Hiking opens up the opportunity to see lots of wildlife and panoramic vistas.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park has an excellent gift shop that provides souvenirs along with small gift items. An interpretative center is onsite as well, offering the opportunity to learn more about the area including its history, its wildlife, and its geological formations.

The trails of Palo Duro Canyon State Park provide horseback riders with exciting terrain and scenic beauty. Since onsite horse rentals are available, everyone can have the opportunity to ride. If horseback riding is a bit too adventurous, hiking and mountain biking trails are plentiful within the park as well. Onsite horse rentals are available.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park is open seven days a week all year round, weather permitting. A small entrance fee is charged on a daily basis. Special rates are available for school groups and children under the age of twelve are free. Overnight and facility fees might also apply.

The park gates open at 8:00 am and close at 10:00 pm during the months of March through September. The park gates open at 8:00 am and close at 8:00 pm during October and November on Sundays through Thursdays and they open at 8:00 am and close at 10:00 pm during October and November on Fridays and Saturdays. The park gates open at 8:00 am and close at 6:00 pm during the months of December, January, and February every day.

Day users must exit the park by 10:00 pm, but campers can remain at their campsites. The busiest season at the park falls between the months of March and September.