Visiting Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Visiting Palo Duro Canyon State Park

A few weekends ago, my wife and I decided to travel up into the Texas panhandle. Last year, we visited Denver for her birthday, so this year on her 30th, we bought 2 nights at a hotel in Amarillo, Texas and spent a day exploring and hiking Palo Duro Canyon State Park. The following are pictures and short comments on that adventure.

When we first arrived, we looked through the gift shop briefly and then I took the photo above of the initial view. It was beautiful and since we’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, this was the next best thing to us. Using a wide lens for a lot of the shots turned out to compliment the park’s beautiful scenery as there was a lot to capture within each frame.

Gift shop and view

Afterwards, we moseyed on over, (Texas talk, y’all) down the road to the famous Light House Trail. With absolutely no shade, the sun became pretty apparent after a couple minutes.

Taken from a random, dilapidated wooden enclosure along the trail.

The enclosure had a small hole punched out that made framing the “light house” feature kind of cool.

One of the really cool and defining features of this path are the dirt/rock walls lined in Selenite. You may recognize this mineral from your local Earthbound store where it’s sold as a charlatan’s “healing crystal”.

Approaching the “Light House” and the cliffs that extend from it are stunning. I became particularly interested in the beautiful colors of the four geologic layers as you walk along the canyon. The canyon itself began forming a million years ago, however the walls of the canyon tell of a much older geologic story of around 250 million years old, according to the Texas Parks & Wildlife. Just look at that view!

Once we arrived at the canyon walls, we ventured a little off path to explore while hiking on loose rocks and small caves. Ascending the large pile of small rocks filled me with a sense of childhood. Rocks and grains of dirt filled my shoes. I loved every moment.

As we continued down the trail, the sun began to defeat us. With no sunscreen and our large bottle of water almost empty, we turned around and headed back to the car to quench our thirst, get out of the sun for a bit, and move toward a different area of the park. Here are few more photos from the Light House path.

We drove over to the Trading Post gift shop/restaurant within the park. We bought water, souvenirs, and some popsicles. We ventured out again looking for caves, but ended up parking and adventuring an unnamed trail that led us upward into a really cool cliff face. Here, I got my favorite photos of the trip involving my beautiful wife, some sand in the wind, and the sun’s rays that tortured us most of the day.

If you haven’t visited Palo Duro Canyon State Park, I highly recommend it as a day trip while traveling through the Texas Panhandle. It’s fairly cheap to get in, ($8 per adult) and has a lot of trails, most of which we didn’t get to explore as we only spent the day there. I also recommend visiting Canyon, Texas after or before for some delicious local coffee at Palace Coffee Company and a visit to the local bookstore Burrowing Owl Books as we did. Thanks for reading!

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