Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Canyon Texas

Palo Duro Canyon is said to be the second largest canyon in the United States.  At 120 miles long, up to 20 miles wide and a maximum depth of 800 feet, it is commonly referred to as the Grand Canyon of Texas.  The northern most section is located in the midst of 291 acres of the Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Canyon, Texas.  For frontier era history buffs Palo Duro Canyon State Park contains part of the battlefield site of the 1874 raid by Colonel Ranald S. MacKenzie where he attacked and destroyed a large Indian encampment that brought an end to the Red River Indian War.  The visitor may enjoy the spectacular scenery at Palo Duro Canyon State Park simply by driving along the 16 miles of paved roadway that winds through the park.  With stops at the interpretive center featuring exhibits on the history, geology and wildlife of the canyon, the Palo Duro Trading Post for a light meal or snack while browsing the souvenirs, and a look at the Pioneer Amphitheater where the outdoor musical drama “Texas” is performed in the summer months you will have a sense of the wonder this park holds for the visitor.  30 miles of hiking and biking trails are also here for your enjoyment. Overnight visitors many choose from primitive campsites at $12 per night or RV sites with water and electricity from $22-$25 per night.  Request a space in the Hackberry Camp Loop at $22 per night for 30 amp service, in the Mesquite Camp Area (20 sites) or in the Sagebrush Camp Area (closest to the park headquarters and entrance gate with 28 sites) for either 30 or 50 amp service at $25 per night.  All camping areas require navigation down a steeply graded road to the canyon floor.  If you have a larger RV or trailer check with a park ranger first.  The daily admission fee of $5 per person is in addition to the camping fee. (this fee is waived if you have a current Texas State Parks Pass)  Note:  When we visited the park in June 2009, on two different occasions, we found the restrooms to be not clean and the campgrounds in general need of maintenance attention.  Equestrian trails and campsites are available as well, and  at the Old West Stables you may rent a horse or sign up for a guided horseback ride.  Cabins set on the rim of the canyon are well worth the $110-125 cost per night just for the spectacular view.  Campers please note that there are 6 river crossings on the south end of the park (mostly primitive camping and hiking areas) that are subject to flash flood conditions.  For those who would like to stay outside the park the West Rim RV Park is just outside the park entrance.  The latest available rate is $20 per night.  Also the Palo Duro RV Park in Canyon Texas at $28 per night.  806-488-2548  Palo Duro Canyon State Park is located 21 miles from Amarillo, Texas, take FM 1541 south to TX 217, travel 8 miles east.  It is 12 miles east of the town of Canyon, Texas on TX 217.  806-488-2227

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4 Responses to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Canyon Texas

  1. Nate Griffin says:

    We have fun every time we go to Palo Duro state park. The only downer for me is that the park doesn’t open until 8 or so in the morning – I wanted to enter the park earlier for a sunrise picture, but I will have to camp to get that shot next time!

  2. Jim says:

    This year (2011) Palo Duro Canyon State Park is undergoing improvements to the campgrounds, roads and restroms. I go there 2 or 3 times a month and always find something I hadn’t seen previously.

  3. Mark Anthis says:

    First time camping at Palo Duro State Park. Heading to Jacob’s Lake for the Grand Canyon.

    1) Latest check in time for a camp site?
    2) Is the National Park Golden Eagle pass offer an entrance and/or camping discount?
    3) Recommended campsite for novice campers with easy access for disabilty
    4) Are two pets (Jack Russels) allowed and recommended?

    Thank you for your time in responding.

    Mark Anthis
    Haines City, Florida

  4. Bob says:

    Hello Mark,
    Your best bet is to call the park directly at 806-488-2227 for the latest information.
    The National Park pass is not honored for any discounts.
    Pets are welcome in the parks. Just keep them on a short leash and neverleave them unattened.
    Visit for more information on Palo Duro Canyon and other parks you may be interested in visiting on your trip through Texas.
    Be sure to visit the Cadillac Ranch just west of Amaeillo.
    Have a safe trip.


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