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.
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Crouch Foundation
3701 Plains Boulevard, Suite 72D
Amarillo, Texas 79102
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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