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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.
Paseo Del Rio Trail
At its southern trailhead, the Paseo Del Rio Trail starts along the park road just north of the Lighthouse trailhead on the north side of the bridge that crosses the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River. This trail follows along the creek to the Hackberry Camp Area, making this the final branch of a good loop hike involving the Givens Spicer Lowry and Lighthouse Trails. When I was on this trail, I was never really sure if I was on the trail because there were so many paths along the river. Just head north, and you will eventually get where you want to be. The river to your west and the road to the east are your boundaries. Vegetation along the river is, as expected, much thicker than elsewhere in the park, with the Mesquite and junipers being larger and added to the mix are cottonwood and salt cedar. At about ¾ of a mile in is a Cowboy dugout. This is a preserved dugout that was used by the cowboys that worked this area years ago. This trail is a leisurely walk with a couple of small wooden bridges spanning the stream and no elevation gain to speak of except at the end where you climb up the river bank to the Hackberry Camp Area, a whopping 60 feet.
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.