The Grand Canyon of the South
Everyone knows about the Grand Canyon … but have you heard about the second largest canyon in the United States? With almost 40 miles of trails and sights almost too beautiful to put into words, the Palo Duro Canyon in Texas is a must see for anyone traveling in the South.
History of Palo Duro Canyon
Nestled in the heart of the Texas Panhandle, a 30-minute drive south of Amarillo, you’ll find the Palo Duro Canyon.
People have inhabited the area for more than 12,000 years. In 1877, the JA Ranch was established in the basin, and it’s still operating today!
The state bought the land for the park in 1933, and it opened the next year.
In addition to being the second largest canyon in the US, it’s also the second largest park in the state parks system today, with more than 29,000 acres!
The canyon itself is 120 miles long, as much as 20 miles wide, and has a maximum depth of more than 800 feet. Its elevation at the rim is 3,500 feet above sea level.
And fun fact! Palo Duro is Spanish for “hard wood.”
Things to do in the park
There are over 30 miles of trails throughout the canyon that can be accessed by foot, mountain bike, horse or car.
There are also several campsites, from drive up areas with water, to backpacking sites that you can stay in. Or, if you don’t want to rough it, you can rent a cabin either on the rim or on the canyon floor.
If walking isn’t your thing, you can catch a showing of TEXAS, an outdoor musical, at the Pioneer Amphitheatre.
There’s something for everyone at Palo Duro Canyon!