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Palo Duro Canyon
Palo Duro Canyon is located 25 miles southeast of Amarillo, in the Texas panhandle, and is the second-longest canyon in the US, and you can guess the first. The Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River is the creek that runs through the canyon. The canyon formed when the river cut down through the Llano Estacado Plateau as it was uplifted during the Pleistocene Period. This canyon has been called the Grand Canyon of Texas. The rock formations are of the Permian and Triassic periods. The lower Permian section was formed when this was a near-shore shallow marine environment. The upper Triassic layer was formed when this was a stream environment and forms the park's Sandstone cap rock.
Palo Duro gets its name from the Spanish meaning “hard stick.” This area was first occupied by Native Americans, the Apaches and then replaced by the Comanche and Kiowa. Coronado visited it in 1541, then around the 1870s ranching. It became a state park in the 1930s. A lot of history was glanced over in those last few sentences, and for more detail, it is readily available online.
The park’s paved road offers opportunities for sightseeing, camping, and hiking. There are over 30 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. With a look of a Minnie Sedona (minus the crowd), it is a worthy stop if you are anywhere near the area. Some of the Wildlife in this canyon include Mule Deer, Wild Turkey, Collared Lizard, Barbary Sheep (introduced in 1957), and Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes. See park literature for more details.
Givens, Spicer, Lowry Trail
The Givens, Spicer Lowry Trail Head (GSL) is across the road from the Hackberry Camp area. A sign marks the trail with a map of all the park trails. This 3.6-mile trail follows along the hills on the north side of Sunday Creek and ends at the junction with the Lighthouse Trail in Little Sunday Creek. This is also the access trail for the Little Fox Canyon Trail. This is a fairly easy trail with about 180 feet in elevation change and an AEG of about 400 feet. Connecting this trail with the Lighthouse Trail and the Paseo Del Rio Trail makes for a good 6.5-mile loop hike. This trail, like many in the park, is marked with mileposts every .1 miles.
The trail starts in the red Permian clays climbing up and down across a couple of small streams. There are boulders from the Triassic period sprinkled about along the trail making for a very picturesque walk. Sometimes the Permian clay is capped by the Triassic Sandstones, so tall spires and hoodoos dot the landscape. The other interesting geologic formations are the tall red cliffs that seem to defy being eroded by rain. It is slow-walking along this area because you are constantly stopping to admire the scenery.
After 3 miles of this interesting landscape, the Little Fox Trail heads off to the north following Sunday Creek, and the GSL heads due south for 0.5 miles to the Lighthouse Trail and Little Sunday Creek. The Lighthouse formation to the southwest is visible from this trail. Vegetation along this trail is Prickly Pear, Yucca, Mesquite, and Juniper. The Juniper against the Red Permian clay makes for some nice photographs.
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.