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Rim Trail - Palo Duro Canyon SP, TX

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Distance One Way 2.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,392 feet
Elevation Gain 33 feet
Accumulated Gain 125 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 3.22
Backpack No
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
16  2020-11-13
Rock Garden Rim Loop
Author markthurman53
author avatar Guides 187
Routes 718
Photos 8,001
Trips 542 map ( 4,954 miles )
Age 67 Male Gender
Location Tucson, Arizona
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Apr, Oct, Nov → Any
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:51am - 7:54pm
Official Route
1 Alternative

Views and more views
by markthurman53

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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.

Rim Trail (Rylander Fortress Cliff Trail)
This description is for the Rim Trail. The park map shows a trail called the Rylander Fortress Cliff Trail and doesn’t show a Rim Trail. The Rylander Cliff Trail is an old road that follows along the cliff about 0.2 miles in from the cliff. When I walked along this trail, it appeared that very few people use it, and it is overgrown with grass and cactus. What I’m calling the Rim Trail is a heavily used trail that follows right alongside the cliffs.

Once on the canyon's rim via the Rock Garden Trail, the Rim Trail immediately heads to the north, following alongside Fortress Cliff. There are great views over Palo Duro Canyon all along this trail. The trail is easy to follow but gets a little faint as you approach the endpoint at “Fractures in the Rock,” 2.8 miles in. A couple of places along this trail, large cracks are apparent along the rim where eventually the edge will break away, hopefully not while you are standing on it enjoying the view. “Fractures in the rock” is one of the eerier of these fractures. The vegetation along this trail is grassland juniper forest with a spattering of yucca. The return trip can either be back along the Rim Trail, or you can take the Fracture in the Rock Spur Trail to the Rylander Fortress Cliff Trail back to the Rock Garden Trail (as the park map shows). I took the Rylander back, and it was totally not awesome, so take the Rim Trail.

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2020-12-08 markthurman53
  • Palo Duro Park Map 2020
    area related
    Palo Duro Park Map 2020
  • Palo Duro Trails Map 2020
    area related
    Palo Duro Trails Map 2020
  • Palo Duro Trails Info 2020
    area related
    Palo Duro Trails Info 2020

One-Way Notice
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.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Permit $$
Fees are typically $4-$7 per person. Check the site for park hours and current fees.

Map Drive
Connector trail - Not Applicable

To hike
The park is located about 12 miles east of Canyon on State Highway 217. From Amarillo, take Interstate 27 south to State Highway 217 at the town of Canyon, and go east eight miles. Park Map shows the trailhead.
page created by markthurman53 on Dec 08 2020 7:34 am
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