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Ridge with a gret view
PALO DURO CANYON
Palo Duro Canyon is located 25 miles southeast of Amarillo Texas, in the Texas panhandle, and is the second-longest canyon in the US; you can guess the first. The creek that runs through the canyon is part of the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River. 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 formed the Sandstone cap rock of the park.
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. It was visited by Coronado in 1541, then around the 1870’s ranching. It became a state park in the 1930s. A lot of history was glanced over in those last few sentences; more detail 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.
GOODNIGHT PEAK TRAIL
The Goodnight Peak and Triassic Trail are listed as two separate trails on the park map but due to their shortness and that access to the Goodnight Peak is via the .2 mile Triassic Trail I have combined them as one in this guide. Access to the Triassic Trail is along the park road as it drops down into Palo Duro canyon. This 1.5-mile round trip hike ventures out to the Goodnight Vista with 360-degree views of the park. The views along Goodnight Ridge are not as high up as those at the visitor center but still grand with better views of timber canyon and the Pioneer Amphitheater. Not sure why they call this a peak trail when it is actually just a ridge, there is a small bump on the ridge that I guess could be considered a peak.
The Park road after the Visitor center starts its descent down into the canyon, and about halfway down on the right is the trailhead for the Triassic and Goodnight Peak Trail. This signed trailhead is also a good spot to access the CCC Trail at its halfway point. The Triassic trail is reasonably level for its entire length of 0.2 miles, connecting with the CCC Trail. The next 0.2 miles is along the CCC Trail before coming to the junction with the Goodnight Peak Trail. Along this 0.2 mile stretch are some good views of Timber Canyon to the southwest and the upper portion of Palo Duro Canyon to the northeast. The Goodnight Peak Trail is a well-defined trail along the eastern side of the ridge to the vista overlooking the Pioneer Amphitheater. The return portion of the trail along the western edge of the ridge is not as well defined but still clearly visible and offers good views over Timber Canyon. This loop is about 0.7 miles long. Other than the short 20 or 30-foot climb from the CCC to the Goodnight Peak trail this is a fairly level hike. This is a good hike if you don’t have a lot of time but still want to get out and do some sightseeing. There are other short trails in the park, but they don’t offer the views this one does.
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.