The result of water erosion, the canyon is only 600,000 years old, but its
exposed geologic record dates back 230 million years. Some of the rocks
formations, such as the 310 foot tall "Lighthouse" pinnacle, make Palo
geology buff's dream. But, down here in the canyon, that's only the
Opened as a state park in 1934, the canyon is one of the finest camping
facilities in the country, whether for the weekender family or the
hardcore RV'er. Its campground settings, overall offerings and the
sheer beauty of the canyon make it hard to beat.
Palo Duro Canyon meanders some 120 miles, giving a visitor
a stunning view of its varied geological formations. Hidden in its
vastness is a equally impressive camping facility. Surrounded by towering canyon
walls, the sites are wide and open. All have tables, firepits and a degree of
privacy from neighbors.
Palo Duro, Spanish for "hard wood", refers to the
plentiful Junipers and Mesquite trees found there. A perfect setting for
the state park's 16,402 acres. The park is a haven for native wildlife, such as deer, road-runners, wild turkeys,
barbary sheep, coyotes and bobcats.
Before a visitor embarks on the numerous marked walking and biking trails,
the Interpretive/Visitor Center at the rim of the canyon is a good place to
start. Staffed by friendly and knowledgeable volunteers, the Center
chronicles the paleontological and geological history of Palo Duro in a series of colorful and well-laid out displays. An impressive book section
is available for the more serious. While we were there, noted Western author
Gerald McCathern was present to explain some of the more colorful aspects of
the local history and, of course, to sell his books.
||The Interpretive/Visitor Center contains
displays and artifacts that aid a visitor in understanding this wonder
of nature. A gift shop and an extensive book section are also available.
Down in the canyon, the activities abound: hiking, biking and jogging trails,
horseback riding, hay rides, education programs, even a musical drama, "Texas", in the park's amphitheatre. There's something for
With all that said, don't get the mistaken impression that this park is a
KOA. In true Texas fashion, it is a very large facility with plenty of
and seclusion for almost anyone. Palo Duro State Park is rustic nature at its best.
|A restored dugout of an early Palo Duro
Canyon pioneer. It is one of the many educational opportunities in
Big rigs welcome. 30/50 amp service. 80 sites
with water/electric. 3 dump stations. Sites
have tables and fire pits. Some with ramadas. 5
buildings. Very clean. No
charge. Roads and site pads are asphalt. Wide sites. 14 day stay
limit; year 'round season.
Gates close at 10PM.
Fees: Rigs-$12 a day plus $3 a day usage fee ($15).
Some discounts available.
ARE A MUST. CALL OR CONTACT:
(512) 389-8900 or www.tpwd.state.tx.us
Rustic cabins are available.
Park info: 1-800-792-1112
Marked walking, jogging, hiking and biking trails. NO
MOTORIZED OFF-ROAD VEHICLES.
Horseback riding and wagon rides.
Interpretive/Visitor Center and gift shop.
Nightly musical drama, "Texas", at
amphitheatre. Dinner optional. Call
Food service and snack shop.
Supplies, including fuel, ice, firewood, limited groceries.
Park security and pay phones.
Palo Duro State Park offers a volunteer work-camping program.
hosting, light maintenance work, and assisting in the Interpretive/Visitor
Center. No restroom
cleaning!! One month preferred. Call Glenn
at 1-806-655-2286 or Maggie at 1-806-488-2506.
Please mention you read Bill's story on
Write: Palo Duro State
Rt.2, Box 285, Canyon, Texas 79015.
| Palo Duro