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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.
The Creekside trail will not be found on the Palo Duro Park Map but it is a signed trail with placards posted every 0.1 miles with the letter “C”. Most trails in the park are marked this way with the first letter of the trail and the mile marked in tenths. Since this had a “C” and it followed along the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River that looks more like a creek. I called it the Creekside Trail. This trail follows along the river on the east bank whereas the other trails on the park map, Sunflower, Rojo Grande, and Riverside Trail follow along the river on the west bank. This trail's southern end is at a junction with the Lower Comanche trail near the Mesquite Campground and its northern end is the junction with the Sunflower Trail. At this junction, there is a wood bridge crossing the river. There is no other good river crossing along this trail as the river is about 15 feet down in a narrow gorge 20 feet wide at the top. The Creekside Trail is a good connecting trail for a loop hike along the Lower Comanche Trail and the Rock Garden Trail.
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.