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Red Rock Walk
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.
ROJO GRANDE TRAIL
The Rojo Grande Trail is a short 1.2-mile trail that follows along the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River between the Sunflower Trail and the Trail Head for the Lighthouse and Capitol Peak trails. This trail gets its name for the red Permian cliffs of Mudstone and Gypsum found along the trail. This is another connector trail and is a bit more used as it connects not only other trails in the park but also camping Grounds and day-use areas.
The southern end of the trail starts at the Fortress Cliffs Campground along the park road and the northern terminus of the Sunflower Trail. This trail has a lot of small ups and downs as it crosses over small side streams that are coming off the Western slopes of Palo Duro Canyon. Heading north on the trail the park road is close by on the left and the River is adjacent most of the way on the right. The vegetation is pretty lush as you get closer to the river with Pecan, Hackberry, juniper, and mesquite. At the northern end of the trail, it crosses the park road and 100 yards later it ends in the parking lot for the Lighthouse and Capitol Peak Trails. This trail is another trail along the river bottom that makes for a good connector trail for a larger loop hike.
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.