Few places can tell the story of years gone by like the great canyons of the Earth. Situated about 20 miles southeast of Amarillo, TX is one of the Earth’s “younger” canyons. Roughly 20,000 years old, Palo Duro Canyon, in the Texas panhandle has a long and storied past. Cut from the waters of the Red River’s Prairie Dog Town Fork, the layers of sediment and mineral rich earth show the remains of times gone by. At over 120 miles in length and a width varying from 6 to 20 miles wide, Palo Duro Canyon is a massive hole in the otherwise flat and dry landscape of the Llano Estacado or the Staked Plains. Its deepest areas measure about 800 feet below the rim of the canyon and the elevation at the rim is about 3,500 feet.
Getting To Palo Duro Canyon
Driving into the Amarillo area was simple. The roads are straight and the land is flat. Driving from Oklahoma there is really only one main highway heading toward the Palo Duro Canyon area and I knew that as long as I was heading west, I was fine. Once you reach Amarillo, the signs are easy to follow and there are plenty of signs to help guide you.
The landscape is flat and dry and beautiful.
Entrance & Exit To Palo Duro Canyon State Park
So you’re driving along and all of a sudden, there it is! The canyon really does pop up out of nowhere and suddenly you are surrounded by picturesque, steep cliffs and beautifully colored layers of ancient rock. Palo Duro canyon is very well cared for and the rugged beauty of the canyon, in large part, has not been harmed by human hands.
Views From The Rim
Palo Duro Canyon is vast! If you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon, it isn’t the same type of experience, but it’s fantastic in its own right. The canyon is so close to you that you really are part of it. It is extremely accessible by car or on foot and unlike the Grand Canyon, you can go from the rim to the floor of Palo Duro Canyon in less than 30 minutes on foot. I actually went straight down one side of the canyon in less than 12 minutes although this method of descending into a canyon may not be advised for all people. The trails are quite good, I suggest using them.
Palo Duro Canyon Up Close
Palo Duro Canyon to me, is a must-see experience. Texas is a tremendously diverse state with various landscapes all adding their own version of beauty of the Lone Star State. But Palo Duro Canyon stands out among them all. The unique rock formations, the gorgeous colored layers of sediment and the amazing recreational possibilities the canyon provides, all for just a couple of dollars really does put it in a class by itself. I can’t wait to visit Palo Duro Canyon again!
So there is the photographic journal of my visit to Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas panhandle, just outside of Amarillo.
I enjoyed every moment I spent in the canyon and I know you will too.
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