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No Spring, No Pond
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.
TUB SPRING/DUCK POND TRAIL
The Tub Spring/Duck Pond Trail is a short .8 mile trail along the east side of the Rylander Fortress Cliffs Mesa that leads to Duck Pond and Tub Spring. Duck Pond is easy to find but Tub Spring is a little more difficult, I never found it. Duck Pond was dry when I was there but it looks like at one time it was quite nice. There is an old cement Picnic table there, a nice place to take a lunch break. Tub Spring is about 0.5 miles somewhere upstream from this pond. Tried to find out more information on Duck pond but what I found out from a couple of sites was that it was dry in summer and that it wasn’t worth the time to visit. I would say it is just a short way from the Rylander trail so why not check it out if not just so you can say “Been there done that”.
From the Rock Garden Trail take the Rylander Fortress Cliff trail to the right (south). The Rylander Trail is an old two-track road and not very interesting, crosses a mesa covered in grasses, yucca, and short mesquite trees. The Tub Spring/Duck Pond Trail is also an old two-track, unmarked but look for a faint two-track splitting off from the Rylander at 0.6 miles from the Rock Garden Trail. This trail drops down 150 feet in 0.2 miles to a stream bed where Duck Pond is. The pond was dry when I was there in May. Tub Spring is somewhere further upstream from the pond but I never found it. There was a lot of green vegetation and cottonwood trees further upstream so it could have been anywhere along that stream. The trail indicates it is about 0.7 miles in from the Rylander Trail. If you venture south on the Rylander you might as well check out this small side trip, you can take a snack break at the cement picnic table at the pond.
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
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