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Judy's Arch Hike
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 Juniper Cliffside Trail follows along the west side of the park road loop on the park's south end. The northern signed trailhead is at the lighthouse trailhead parking lot, and the southern signed trailhead is at the southern end of the loop road just west of where the road crosses the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River. This 2.9-mile trail follows low along the western slopes of Palo Duro Canyon. The trail follows alongside the road set in a bit and at times departs from the road as it traverses creeks that come down from the canyon walls. This trail is signed every tenth mile and is relatively level with no significant climbs. Judy’s Arch, or Palo Duro Cave as most call it, is about 0.8 miles from the southern trailhead and is a short 0.2 miles off to the west, worth the side trip if you hike this trail. The Juniper Cliffside Trail, along with the Rojo Grande, Sunflower, and Juniper Riverside Trail, makes for a good 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.