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“Wonderful views and geology”

Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Ranked #1 of 18 things to do in Canyon
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: A dramatic 60-mile long and 800-foot deep canyon noted for its excellent hiking, birding, fishing and mountain biking.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Reviewed August 14, 2013

There is a charge to enter the park. I suggest getting there closer to sunrise or sunset. It was beautiful but hot during the day (August, what would I expect). We ate at the small cafe/gift shop. The burgers were good.

1  Thank JudyMeier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,330 - 1,334 of 1,723 reviews

Reviewed August 12, 2013

OK, so we went in August and it was HOT! But, we expected the the heat so not a big problem. The family (Two Grandparents, Four Parents and Five Grandchildren ranging in age from 9 to 15 all had a great time hiking and horseback riding during the day and then going to the show "Texas" at night. If you go, make sure you take plenty of water if you are hiking and even on the horseback rides they give you a water bottle holder to attach to the saddle (you provide the water bottle). The part of our family that did the 6 mile hike to the "Lighthouse" ran somewhat short of water so believe the signs and go back and buy more water if you don't have enough. Well worth the visit.

1  Thank Harold I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2013

Fee to enter the park was per person but reasonable when considering it goes toward a state park. You can camp or spend a morning like we did. We went early to avoid the hot, hot sun. Beautiful scenery, friendly people, nice gift shop with restrooms, and car friendly. It is amazing landscape with views to remember.

2  Thank Becky C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 7, 2013

Unquestionably, Palo Duro Canyon truly is a beautiful place. The only real drawback is that it is less than an hour from the city of Amarillo, so don't expect much peaceful seclusion, at least in the summer. We visited on a weekday and it was crowded, so I can only imagine how busy it is on summer weekends.

We hiked three different trails - the Paseo del Rio Trail, the Lighthouse Trail, and the Givens, Spicer, & Lowry Trail - which combined, form a loop of approximately 7 miles (or so). The Paseo del Rio Trail is essentially a connector trail between the other two. Although it's not a trail that's filled with stunning vistas, it is a pleasant one-mile stroll, much of which is shaded from the blazing sun. The Lighthouse Trail (3 miles, one way) is easily the busiest, because it leads to the park's signature formation - the grand hoodoo named "The Lighthouse." We were rarely very far from anyone on this trail. Both the Paseo del Rio and the Lighthouse Trail involve very little elevation change, and (assuming you're prepared for the Texas heat and sun with plenty to drink) I would rate them both as easy. The final spur up to the Lighthouse itself is the only portion of the trail that is strenuous. It's a fairly brief, but very steep ascent, up a trail that is severely eroded from so much use. That portion of the trail really is in need of some maintenance. The Givens, Spicer, & Lowry Trail was the most enjoyable. It was the only trail on which we didn't encounter anyone else, and ironically, it was by far the most scenic of the three trails.

Many people seem to want to compare Palo Duro to the Grand Canyon, but it isn't really fair to do so. Each is magnificent in its own right, and people just need to appreciate each one for the wonder that it is, instead of trying to compare the two. And it's amusing to hear the tourists who give ho-hum reviews to Palo Duro, when all they've done is drive around the park roads for an hour or so.

The visitor center / state park gift shop is worth checking out. It has a decent selection of books, crafts, and artwork, instead of the cheap assortment of everyday touristy items sometimes found in state park gift shops. (The gift shop at the amphitheater, for the Texas outdoor musical, however, is nothing but dull, touristy knick-knacks).

After spending the day hiking, we did return in the evening to watch the Texas musical, and it is very good. I won't elaborate on it here, however, since I'll be reviewing it separately.

4  Thank Louder72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2013

Loved the canyon - went knowing very little about it on our first visit to Amarillo. Took three teenaged boys who weren't sure what to expect and ended up having the time of their lives there! Hiked and explored caves all day in the heat of the sun - bring water bottles. Stayed all day and went to chuck wagon dinner and musical "Texas" in the amphitheater in the evening - awesome!

1  Thank Pam M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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