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Lower Comanche Trail, TX

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Difficulty 2 of 5
Distance One Way 4.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,777 feet
Elevation Gain 424 feet
Accumulated Gain 746 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 7.29
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
10  2021-05-11
Lower Comanche Trail Loop
markthurman53
Author markthurman53
author avatar Guides 162
Routes 683
Photos 7,885
Trips 532 map ( 4,888 miles )
Age 67 Male Gender
Location Tucson, Arizona
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Mar → Any
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:33am - 8:03pm
Official Route
 
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Water


You do the hoodoos two
by markthurman53

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.

LOWER COMANCHE TRAIL

Overview
The Lower Comanche Trail is a 4.8 mile Trail that has its northern terminus at the end of the Upper Comanche Trail and the Soapberry Spur Trail. The southern terminus is at the Park Road on the very southern end of the park near the equestrian camp area. Access to the trail is also available at the Mesquite camp area where the trail crosses the park road. Together with the Upper Comanche Trail this 8.3 miles trail will take you from the northern end of the park to the southern end along the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River higher up but under the Eastern rim of the canyon. Many side trips and loop hikes can be formed from this trail.

Description
Starting at the southernmost end of the trail near the equestrian camp area just east of the river the trail heads north inside the park road loop. About 0.2 miles in the trail comes to a junction of a trail that is not shown on the park map but signed with a “C” and tenth-mile markers as other trails in the park. I have called this unnamed trail the Creekside trail. The Lower Comanche trail continues along the road but set in a way for another 0.2 miles before crossing the road for the last time at the Mesquite Camp area. Higher up to the east along the rim about 500 feet up is the vista point that is at the end of the Rylander Fortress Cliff Trail. The next 1.4 miles the Comanche Trail begins a gradual 300 foot climb up from the river floor to a mesa below the eastern cliff. This section of the trail offers some interesting Rock formations and hoodoos. At 2.4 miles it crosses the Rock Garden Trail. The Rock garden trail heading downhill will end up at the park road, this makes for a good loop hike. Heading up on the Rock Garden Trail will lead up to the canyon Rim and the Rylander Fortress Cliff Trail.

The Lower Comanche Trail continues on 2.4 miles past the Rock Garden Trail junction and continues just below the Rylander Fortress Cliffs before reaching the northern end of the trail and the junction with the Upper Comanche Trail. Views from below the cliffs are interesting in that it shows just how fragile and susceptible to large rock portions breaking away. Probably don’t want to do this trail before hiking the Rylander fortress Cliffside trail or you might think twice before you walk out along these rock cliff ledges. From the Junction at the northern end of the Lower Comanche trail you can continue on the Upper Comanche Trail or take the Soapberry Trail 0.3 miles back down to the park road and the Soapberry day-use area.

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

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2021-05-19 markthurman53
  • Palo Duro Park Map 2020
    state park related
    Palo Duro Park Map 2020
  • Palo Duro Trails Map 2020
    state park related
    Palo Duro Trails Map 2020
  • Palo Duro Trails Info 2020
    state park 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 texas.gov site for park hours and current fees.


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
Paved - Car Okay

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.
page created by markthurman53 on May 19 2021 8:48 pm
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