Palo Duro Canyon State Park

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Trails Information

Discover hoodoos and history at this scenic canyon.

Roadrunner with vegetation around
Greater Roadrunner

You’ll discover an artist’s palette of colors as you explore the geologic wonders of the grandest canyon in Texas. From canyon rim to floor, you can marvel at nature’s diversity and the history of the Texas Panhandle Plains.


All trails hiking and biking unless otherwise indicated by icons.

This list may not include all trails in the park.

Trail Distance Time Difficulty Description
CCC 1.4 mi.
1.5 hrs. Difficult Cross four historic CCC bridges as you descend 500 feet through four geologic layers from the canyon rim to the canyon floor.
Capitol Peak 3.5 mi.
1.5 hrs. Easy to Difficult This mountain-biking trail traverses the scenic canyon country around Capitol Peak with three levels of difficulty for various biking skills: Green-Easy; Blue-Moderate; Black-Difficult.
Equestrian 1.6 mi.
2 hrs. Moderate Take your horse for a canyon ride through the former grazing lands of the historic JA Ranch.
Givens, Spicer, Lowry 3.1 mi.
2.5 hrs. Difficult Named for avid runners who helped build the canyon’s trail system, this trail offers a challenging workout and amazing scenery.
Juniper / Cliffside 2.9 mi.
2 hrs. Moderate Notice the percolation caves carved by moving water in the sides of the cliffs along this trail.
Juniper / Riverside 1.1 mi.
1 hr. Moderate Watch for the colorful Spanish Skirts rock formations along this flat trail beside the river.
Lighthouse 2.8 mi.
2 hrs. Moderate Don’t miss the park’s most popular trail leading to the iconic Lighthouse rock formation. Do take plenty of water, as most heat-related injuries and deaths for people and pets occur on this trail.
Paseo Del Rio 1.0 mi.
1 hr. Easy As you walk along the river, stop at the Cowboy Dugout to see how the cowboys lived in the 1880s.
Pioneer Nature 0.4 mi.
1/2 hr. Easy Watch for Texas horned lizards on this easy, family-friendly trail that loops down to the river and back.
Rock Garden 2.4 mi.
2.5 hrs. Difficult Climb 600 feet from a field of boulders at the bottom of the canyon to the Rylander Fortress Cliff Trail along the canyon’s rim.
Rojo Grande 1.2 mi.
1 hr. Moderate Explore this shady, scenic trail through the rusty red Quartermaster geologic formation at the canyon bottom.
Rylander Fortress Cliff 3.7 mi.
3 hrs. Easy As you hike this easy trail along the canyon rim, take the spur trails to the scenic overlooks for stunning views of the canyon below. This trail is only accessible from the Rock Garden Trail.
Sunflower 1.2 mi.
1 hr. Easy Watch for beautiful veins of white satin-spar gypsum about a quarter-mile past the trailhead on this shady, family-friendly trail.
Upper Comanche 3.3 mi.
3 hrs. Difficult Explore the heart of the territory of the Comanches on this beautiful multiuse trail. Cross the river that is the main force that formed the canyon, then enjoy the breathtaking views across the canyon from a viewpoint about halfway up the canyon’s wall.
Lower Comanche 4.4 mi.
4 hrs. Difficult Marvel at the amazing scenery as you hike beneath the craggy face of Fortress Cliff on this challenging trail. Watch for spring-fed streams crossing the trail, and stop to rest in the shade of a Rocky Mountain juniper, the tree that gives the “Hard Wood” Canyon its name.
Kiowa 1.4 mi.
1.5 hrs. Easy This easy trail provides great views of Triassic Peak, an original CCC road bridge, and the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River. You’ll also get up close and personal with the 250-million-year-old Permian formation that gives the river its red color.
List of Trails

Points of Interest

GPS coordinates shown in decimal degrees.

Point Latitude Longitude Description
Longhorn Pasture 34.9845° -101.7012° Look for longhorns from Texas' Official Longhorn Herd.
CCC Overlook at Visitor Center 34.9801° -101.6910° Marvel at a grand view of the park before descending into the canyon.
El Coronado Lodge 34.9792° -101.6915° Learn a little history of the park and maybe do some shopping.
Bridges on Upper CCC Trail 34.9812° -101.6922° Inspect the handiwork of the CCC craftsmen.
CCC Fireplace 34.9847° -101.6916° Visit the lone sentinel from a once-thriving CCC camp.
Wildlife Viewing Blind 34.9737° -101.6764° Relax and watch some of the park's native residents.
Dugout 34.9637° -101.6713° Take a peek into the life of a 19th-century cowboy.
Lighthouse 34.9364° -101.6967° The symbol of Palo Duro Canyon State Park.
Rock Garden 34.9404° -101.6517° Take a hike through an ancient landslide.
The Big Cave 34.9340° -101.6446° There are no outlaws in this hole in the wall.
List of Points of Interest

Staying Safe

  • Know your limits. Prepare for sun and heat. Wear sunscreen, insect repellent and appropriate clothing/hiking shoes.
  • Drink plenty of water. Your body quickly loses fluids when you’re on the trail. Bring at least one quart of water per person per mile. Don’t forget extra water for your pets.
  • Tell others where you’ll be. If possible, avoid exploring alone. Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • Wear a helmet when mountain biking. Check with park HQ to match the trail to your skill level. Wear a helmet to protect yourself in case of a crash.
  • Potentially harmful plants and animals live here. You’ll see them more easily if you stay on the trails.
  • Weather changes quickly. Check forecasts before you leave and prepare for changes in the weather.

Trail Etiquette

  • Trash your trash. Keep the park natural. Pack out all of your trash and Leave No Trace.
  • Leave feeding to nature. Feeding wild animals will make them sick and more likely to harm people.
  • Please stay on designated trails and do not cross fences.
  • Keep pets on leashes for their safety, and to protect wildlife.
  • Don’t pocket the past. Help preserve Texas heritage. Leave artifacts where you find them and report their location to a ranger.
  • Take only memories and pictures. Help preserve nature. Leave all plants and animals in the park.