Home > Vacation > Road Trip – Palo Duro Canyon

Road Trip – Palo Duro Canyon

First in a series of posts covering our Texas, New Mexico, Colorado road trip.

Our first stop was Palo Duro Canyon State Park. The timing was complicated because of how far it is and we were only there for one night. We ate a late lunch in Canyon and drove over to the SP. It took us quite awhile to get in, as it was Memorial Day. By the time we made it to the first overlook, it was already 5pm. We only had time for the Lighthouse Trail, and even that was pushing it. After hiking awhile, the clouds started getting darker and we started to hear the distant rumble of thunder. We trekked on, hoping to at least see the Lighthouse formation from afar. But when it started sprinkling we turned back. We got not too far from the car, when the wind started blowing like crazy. The winds have been abnormally high all year in Texas, but when you throw dust and dirt, it gets hard to see and can actually hurt some. Shortly after that, the heavens let loose and it was a torrential downpour. A guy on a dirt bike flew by and reminded us about a shelter just ahead. We ran over and parked ourselves. Rain is fine, but lightning is not. It also got pretty cold. Two other bikers joined us, so we talked for the next half hour and waited the storm out.

The canyon is amazing. You just don’t expect to see that in Texas, esp. considering how flat the surrounding area is. I definitely want to go back to spend more time there and do the complete Lighthouse trail. Memorial Day weekend was already hot, so April would be more comfortable and the wildflowers should be out. We also didn’t get to see TEXAS. However, the show only runs from June-Aug, which is the hottest time of the year. A longer visit would also give us time to explore Caprock Canyons. I would definitely fly up there next time, as it’s a 16 hour roundtrip from Austin.

Capitol Peak?

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Categories: Vacation
  1. bobzeller
    July 14, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    You mentioned in your post that you didn’t expect to see those canyons in Texas. Then you must see the canyons and mountains of Big Bend National Park. Several of the canyons there are from 1500 to 2000 feet to the tops of their vertical cliffs. My favorite is Santa Elena Canyon, because it is the most accessible. Peregrine Falcons nest there. I just recently started following your blog, and perhaps you may have already been there.

    I love your photographs of the Palo Duro, though.

    Bob Zeller

  2. nosajio
    July 15, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Ah good point. I’ve been to Santa Elena once, on my only other real road trip about 15 years ago. Since I was down at the bottom, not above, I didn’t think about it that way. I need to go back someday, as I only spent a couple of days in the park.

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