We decided to pack up the kids and our small dog for a simple getaway, but to where? Most people have heard of the Grand Canyon. However, the second largest canyon in the United States lies in the heart of the Texas Panhandle. It's called The Palo Duro Canyon. It's just five hours from our home in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
About Palo Duro Canyon
The Palo Duro Canyon was formed by millions of years of water erosion by the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River and the West Texas wind. The canyon is about 120 miles long and 20 miles wide, and is up to 800 feet deep. The view from the top is stunning! You can see the beautiful colors of the four geologic layers as you descend 500 feet to the floor of the canyon. It took about 20 minutes on the narrow winding road to get to the bottom. The kids loved the winding road.
Things To Do in Palo Duro Canyon
You can explore the canyon by foot, mountain bike, horse or car. We saw jeep tours, and ranger tours too. There are more than 30 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails. You can camp in a tent or rent an RV spot, go geocaching, study nature, or bird watch. The kids will love the long horns. We stayed for the gorgeous sunset and the night sky. On a clear moonless, cloudless night, the Milky Way shines!
Where to Stay
Speaking of night, you're probably wondering where to stay. We found out later that "glamping" is also offered in Palo Duro Canyon. Each glamping site is fully furnished with air conditioning, luxury rustic furnishings, refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers, games, bicycles, gas grills and gas fire pits, covered porches with rockers, porch swings, and much more. Tap the link for More information on glamping at Palo Duro Canyon. We will totally do this next time! On this occasion, we choose to stay at a hotel 30 minutes away in downtown Amarillo, Texas. We had hotel points for a free stay. We couldn't pass those nights up! However, next time you'll catch us glamping in the park.
Family Travel Tips
Outside of the visitor center and gift shop, there are not many food options in Palo Duro Canyon. You definitely want to pack a meal, or plan to leave the park for food. Bring lots of water, sunscreen, and bug repellent. Needless to say, Texas is known for its heat, and the Palo Duro Canyon is no different. We recommend skipping a visit during the summer months. Choose to visit during the spring or fall months to avoid the extreme temperatures.
We enjoyed our quick getaway to Palo Duro Canyon, and we know you'll love it too. We hope you find these tips helpful. Thanks for stopping by!
Want to browse more family friendly travel itineraries? Read these blogs from our adventure experts:
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- Discover Blue Hole Park in Georgetown as your quick road trip from Austin
- Discover This Hidden West Texas Treasure: Caprock Canyons
This article was written by Jennifer Gilmore. You can find more helpful adventure tips and tricks on Jessica’s Instagram @sassyteacherchic