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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 north end of the Juniper Riverside Trail is at the junction with the Sunflower Trail and is just north of the Wolfberry camp area. The trails signed southern trailhead is at the very southern end of the park loop road across from the Juniper Cliffside Trail. This is a 1.1-mile flat trail that stays fairly close to the west banks of the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River. In the early mornings, you can see deer and Turkey. After rainstorms, this trail is quite muddy, and the park, at times, closes it down.
The Rojo Grande, Sunflower, and Juniper Riverside Trails are trails that span the inner portion of the loop road on the southern end of the park. These trails interconnect the various campgrounds and picnic sites and are used for short hikes by those using the campgrounds. These trails also are quite useful as interconnecting trails for longer loop hikes. These trails mainly cover the west side of the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River with a bridge crossing over at either end of the loop road and one in the middle along the Sunflower Trail at the junction with the Creekside Trail. The Creekside Trail follows along the east side of the river and is useful as an interconnect for the Lower Comanche and Rock Garden Trail loop.
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.