Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Return to Palo Duro Canyon

Palo Duro Canyon
It's one of the prettiest places to camp that I've experienced.  The red rock scenery is mesmerizing.  Not as good as Sedona, but pretty damn good.  Its remote, quiet, and uncluttered.  There's no stores, no restaurants, no traffic, no wifi, no TV service, and cell service is almost no existent.  But, there's plenty of hiking and mountain biking trails.  Its a great place to unwind, disconnect, and just enjoy nature.

This was my second visit to Palo Duro Canyon State Park.  The park is about 30 miles south of Amarillo.  It was built in the 1930's by the CCC.  The canyon is the second largest in the US.  I first heard about the canyon from reading travel blogs and decided to check it out last year on our way home from Arizona.  I was wowed and decided to return this year for an extended stay.  It would be a great way to wrap up our southwest road trip before we hit the interstates and head home.

Spring time is a great time to visit the park.  The day time temperatures are warm in the mid 70's.  Perfect for hiking or biking or just sitting outside.  (Summer time can be oppressive with temps sometimes reaching 120.)  It was so nice to put the shorts back on after a couple weeks of cool weather in west Texas.

The park has three developed campgrounds in the bottom of the canyon.  There are also underdeveloped areas for tenters.  The most remote, Mesquite, is the smallest and most picturesque.  All the developed campground sites have water and electric hookups and there are three dump stations near by.  Each has a bath house with showers.  Here's a picture of Mesquite.

Mesquite Camping Area

The Texas panhandle is very flat and the canyon appears suddenly as a small craggy wash.   Then it opens up.  The park entrance is at the top but everything else is at the bottom.  Here's a video I shot of driving into the canyon.

We were lucky with the weather.  It was warm and sunny.  We did some small hikes and bike rides.  The panhandle can be windy and is prone to dust storms.  We had just one windy day that happened late in the day and it kicked up a little dust over night.  But overall it was a nice way to relax and cap off our tour.  Here's some parting shots of Palo Duro Canyon.

I saw this sunset coming out of the bath house.  Had to run and get my camera.

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