The Grand Canyon of Texas: Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas© 2009 Shutterstock/Mike NortonThe landmark formation at the nation's second-largest canyon is aptly known as the Lighthouse.

Twelve miles east of Canyon on Hwy. 217, Texas

Calling Palo Duro Canyon “The Grand Canyon of Texas” is no idle boast: This multicolored world of rock is the second-largest canyon in the United States. Artist Georgia O’Keeffe, who lived for a time in the Panhandle town of Canyon, described Palo Duro as “filled with dramatic light and color,” and the thousands who visit this scenic state park each year would agree.

Horseback riders, mountain bikers, campers, and picnickers descend on the canyon for relaxation or adventure. Longhorn cattle graze on the rim, the jumping-off point for a dramatic eight-mile drive to the canyon floor. The signature rock formation, the Lighthouse, towers above the nearly 30,000 acres of dry washes, side canyons, honey mesquite and soapberry trees, and riverbeds shaded by cottonwoods.

Bursting on the scene from June – mid-Aug. is the musical costume drama Texas. Staged in the Pioneer Amphitheater on the canyon floor, the extravaganza traces the struggles and triumphs of Texas Panhandle settlers of the nineteenth century.

Open year-round. Admission charged.

(806) 488-2227

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