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Palo Duro Canyon

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FC: Canyon, Texas

1: Road Trip October 1-3, 2010 | What a beautiful view! | Palo Duro Canyon is located in the Texas panhandle near Amarillo, Texas. The drive took about 6 and a half hours. Mike drove the entire way and I only took a short 30-minute nap (although he would disagree).

2: The drive down to the bottom of the canyon.

3: Palo Duro Canyon is 120 miles long and 800 feet deep, and is the second-largest canyon in the United States. The canyon was formed less than 1 million years ago when the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River first carved its way through the Southern High Plains. The rocks expose a geologic story which began approximately 250 million years ago. Some of the oldest rock layers in the canyon belong to the Quartermaster Formation. These rocks, which are located at the bottom of the canyon, are noted for their bright red clay stone and white gypsum.

4: Our 4 Star Hotel

5: The view from the campsite at sunset.

7: This was Freeway's first camping trip. He's not the camping type of dog and prefers to be indoors most of the time. He seemed to have enjoyed the trip though. He's slightly spoiled so I had to bring a picnic blanket for him.

8: Turkeys

9: The Deer | Mike heard turkeys around the camp Saturday morning. As I returned from the restroom, I noticed them hanging out around the tent. Mike asked if I saw the deer. When I asked him "What deer?" he pointed to this deer who was just roaming around the campsite. I was a bit surprised as I have never been so close to a deer before.

10: Palo Duro Canyon has a wide variety of wildlife. Wildlife encounters include the mule deer, roadrunners, wild turkey and cottontails. Other wildlife in the park include coyotes, Barbary sheep, bobcats and western diamondback rattlesnakes. Bird-watching is a popular activity in the park. Painted buntings, canyon wrens and red-tailed hawks are a few of the many interesting birds living in the canyon.

11: The fire was just about the only thing that kept all the mosquitoes away. Mike "found" some firewood and grilled hot dogs Friday night and steaks and potatoes Saturday night!

12: Palo Duro Canyon State Park opened on July 4, 1934 and contains 29,182 acres of the scenic, northern most portion of the Palo Duro Canyon. | Palo Duro Canyon has a rich history. Native American tribes in the area included Kiowa, Comanche and Cheyenne.

13: 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. | Located in the Texas Panhandle near Amarillo, Palo Duro Canyon State Park is one of our nation's most magnificent natural attractions.

14: Ready for the hike

15: mile markers

16: The Lighthouse is the geological signature of Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

17: The trail surface, like much of Palo Duro, consisted of packed dirt and rock. There were sandy patches as well.

19: Almost there... | The Lighthouse trail leads to the Lighthouse (formation created by erosion) which is 310 feet high and has been designated a National Natural Landmark. This trail is considered moderate in difficulty with a total round trip distance of 5.75 miles.

21: Horses taking a break | The steep trail at the base leading to the Lighthouse

22: We finally made it!

25: Mike tried to climb higher when we got to the Lighthouse Rock. This rock is actually next to the Lighthouse Rock. He had an unfortunate accident with his camera in doing so.

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Betty C. Wu
  • By: Betty C.
  • Joined: over 10 years ago
  • Published Mixbooks: 8
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  • Title: Palo Duro Canyon
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  • Published: about 9 years ago