August 2011: Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Canyon, Texas

The “Grand Canyon of Texas” is one of the largest in America, yawning for over 120 miles and reaching depths of 800 feet. This is particularly impressive since the gaping chasm is invisible as you drive east from the only access town of Canyon. Early Spanish Explorers are believed to have discovered the area and dubbed the canyon "Palo Duro" which is Spanish for "hard wood" in reference to the abundant mesquite and juniper trees. Palo Duro Canyon State Park opened on July 4, 1934 with over 26,000 acres in the scenic, northern most seven miles of the canyon.  

Dogs are allowed throughout the park and welcome in the campground. Palo Duro is one of Texas’ most visited parks but most folks seem to experience the canyon by wheeled conveyance so when you get out with your dog to explore some of the 30 miles of foot trails you will be in for a special treat. The landscape is painted with red claystone, white gypsum and yellow mudstone. The busiest trail at Palo Duro is a relatively easy ramble on the Lighthouse Trail, three miles out and three back. The Lighthouse is a dual, 300-foot plump spire of eroded mudstone. For a desert trail this is easy-going for your dog with few rocks and mostly paw-friendly sandy dirt. No water along the way, however. Other routes that will beckon to canine hikers include the easy trotting of the Paseo Del Rio alongside the Red River and the only route that begins at rim level, Triassic Trail. 

12 miles east of Canyon from I-27.