The Best Day Hike You Can Take With Your Dog In Texas

Lighthouse Trail
Palo Duro Canyon State Park • Canyon

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.

With all that, the classic Palo Duro canine hike has nothing to do with the canyon. Instead, point Seaman towards the park’s signature rock formation, a multi-tiered, 300-foot high pier of Trujillo sandstone known as the Lighthouse. It will be three miles before reaching the base of the tower but Seaman will see it in the distance long before that, sticking out above the prairie grasses, cholla cactus, and mesquite bushes.

The Lighthouse Trail is a joy for Seaman to trot on - smooth, hard-packed dirt and usually wide enough to handle a pack of trail dogs. The route follows dry washes and troughs between small hills as you gain an easy 900 feet in elevation. There are overlooks fromthe Capitol Mesa and while red dominates the color palette there are bands of yellow, purple, and brown in the buttes as you close in on this designated National Natural Landmark.

HIKING TIME: 2-3 hours

(from the book 300 Day Hikes To Take With Your Dog Before He Tires You Out: Trails where you won’t be able to wipe the wag off your dog’s tail)


National Parks with Hiking

Amistad National Recreation Area
Dogs are allowed on the trails in this park

Big Bend National Park
Dogs are not allowed on the trails in this park

Big Thicket National Preserve
Dogs are allowed on trails

Fort Davis National Historic Site
Dogs are allowed anywhere but in the historic buildings

Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Dogs are not allowed on the trails in this park

Lake Meredith National Recreation Area

Padre Island National Seashore
Dogs are allowed on the trails in this park

San Antonio Missions National Historic Park
Dogs are allowed at all 4 mission sites and
within the compound walls

Links to National Forests With Hiking

Angelina National Forest
Caddo National Grassland
Davy Crockett National Forest
Lyndon B. Johnson National Grassland
Rita Blanca National Grassland
Sabine National Forest
Sam Houston National Forest

State Parks With Hiking


Texas State Parks
Dogs are permitted on most Texas state park trails; check for specific park restrictions on pets on trails or in primitive areas. Dogs are not allowed on the trails or in the campgrounds at Big Bend Ranch State Park.

 Abilene State Park
 Atlanta State Park
 Bastrop State Park
 Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park
 Big Spring State Park
 Blanco State Park
 Boca Chica State Park
 Bonham State Park
 Brazos Bend State Park
 Buescher State Park
 Caddo Lake State Park 
 Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway
 Cedar Hill State Park
 Choke Canyon State Parks
 Cleburne State Park
 Colorado Bend State Park
 Cooper Lake State Park
 Copper Breaks State Park
 Daingerfield State Park
 Davis Mountains State Park
 Dinosaur Valley State Park
 Eisenhower State Park
 Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
 Fairfield Lake State Park
 Falcon State Park
 Fort Boggy State Park
 Fort Griffin State Historic Site
 Fort Parker State Park
Fort Richardson State Historic Site
 Franklin Mountains State Park
 Galveston Island State Park
Garner State Park
 Goliad State Historical Park
 Guadalupe River State Park
 Hill Country State Natural Area
 Honey Creek State Natural Area
Huntsville State Park
 Inks Lake State Park
 Jim Hogg State Historic Site
Kerrville-Schreiner State Park
 Kickapoo Cavern State Park
 Lake Arrowhead State Park
Lake Bob Sandlin State Park
Lake Brownwood State Park
 Lake Casa Blanca International State Park
 Lake Colorado City State Park
 Lake Corpus Christi State Park
 Lake Houston State Park
 Lake Livingston State Park
 Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway
 Lake Rita Blanca State Park
 Lake Somerville State Parks
 Lake Texana State Park
 Lake Whitney State Park
 Lockhart State Park
Longhorn Cavern State Park
Lost Maples State Natural Area
Lyndon B. Johnson State Historical Park
 Martin Creek Lake State Park
 Martin Dies, Jr. State Park
 Matagorda Island State Park
 McKinney Falls State Park
 Meridian State Park
 Mission Tejas State Historical Park
 Monahans Sandhills State Park
 Mother Neff State Park
 Mustang Island State Park
 Palmetto State Park
 Palo Duro Canyon State Park
 Pedernales Falls State Park
 Possum Kingdom State Park
 Purtis Creek State Park
 San Angelo State Park
 Sea Rim State Park
Seminole Canyon State Historic Site
 Sheldon Lake State Park
 South Llano River State Park
 Stephen F. Austin State Historical Park
 Tyler State Park
 Village Creek State Park


Hiking With Your Dog In Texas