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Palo Duro Canyon: All You Need to Know

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It’s time for an outdoor adventure, and you’ve got Amarillo on the mind. Just 25 miles southeast of the city, Palo Duro Canyon State Park welcomes explorers every day of the year. This natural wonder stretches across the Texas panhandle, and has captivated visitors, residents, and even artists like Georgia O’Keeffe for years. Hike among red-rock cliffs, stargaze under a clear sky, and experience art in the desert.

Read more to discover all you need to know about visiting Palo Duro Canyon, including what to do in Amarillo.

1. Visit the park

Park open daily, office closed on holidays. Daily entrance fee for adults (13+) is $8 and Children 12 and younger are free

Palo Duro State Park

11450 Park Road 5

Canyon, TX 79015

(806) 488-2227

Welcome to the second-largest canyon in the United States. Texans call it “The Other Grand Canyon,” but it’s a stunning natural destination in its own right. You could stay for days and still not explore all 120 miles of wildlife habitat and stunning sunsets. At many points, the canyon is 6 miles wide. Stand at the center and take it all in.

Parking is available in several public lots throughout the park, but they do tend to fill up on weekends and holidays, so arrive early to get a spot.

2. Choose a trail

Via All Trails

If you’re wondering where to go hiking near Amarillo, Palo Duro is the place to be. The state park is home to 16 trails of varying difficulty and length. Whether you’re looking for an easy walk or a steep climb, you have lots of options—and the scenery is crazy beautiful.

·        For beginners: Adults and kids seeking an easy experience will love Sunflower Trail, an hour-long hike with plenty of shade.

·        For intermediates: For a more challenging, moderate trek, follow the river for a refreshing soundtrack along the Juniper/Riverside Trail.

·        For experts: Rock Garden Trail may sound like a stroll, but this difficult 2.5-hour climb takes you from the canyon floor to the rim.      

·        For cyclists: Capitol Peak is a bikes-only trail for all skill levels. These levels are clearly marked for visitors.

3. Join an event

You’ll have several opportunities to celebrate the region’s history and natural wonders with locals. Plan your next excursion around these Palo Duro Canyon events:

Stargazing parties

Throughout the year, meet up with other dark sky enthusiasts for late night gatherings under the cosmos. The types of events vary; on any given year, you can look forward to full moon walks, Starry Night! parties, and more.

Wildlife tours

Learn about the park’s indigenous insects at a Going Buggy event or take a birdwatching tour with one of the local experts.

History and cultureOctober brings Native American dances, cooking demos, and more at the annual Palo Duro Prairie Palooza! There’s still time to join this year’s event on October 18th at Wolfberry Campground.

4. Enjoy Amarillo Arts

When you’re planning what to do in Amarillo, look to the locals for inspiration. Take time to appreciate the city’s art installations and galleries, which fill the Texas plains with lots of color.

Cadillac Ranch


13651 I-40 Frontage Road

Amarillo, TX 79124

Commissioned by Stanley Marsh III, Cadillac Ranch is one of the country’s most recognizable roadside installations.

Huge Pair of Legs

4743 W. Sundown Lane

Amarillo, TX 79118

Standing tall and covered in bright graffiti, Huge Pair of Legs is another vision from the imagination of art enthusiast Stanley Marsh III.

Arts in the Sunset

The Crouch Foundation

3701 Plains Boulevard, Suite 72D

Amarillo, Texas 79102

(806) 310-2600

You could—and should—spend all day browsing the work of local artisans at the Arts in the Sunset complex. Feel the creative energy in more than 40 studios and take home a piece of Palo Duro Canyon.

For your next trip to Amarillo, don’t miss the stunning trails of Palo Duro Canyon and the eye-catching art that makes this city unique. 

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