Just an hour outside of Amarillo lies Palo Duro Canyon, known as “The Other Grand Canyon.” This gem is a beautiful and historical piece of the Texas landscape. It is the second largest canyon in the nation and offers a beautiful layout, breathtaking views and a fantastic history. This is a destination you will want to check out at some point.
A Brief History of Its Inhabitants
Native Americans were the first to occupy the canyon between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago. The canyon provided access to water, and it was highly sought after for its beauty. Many tribes fought against each other to try to control the region for their families.
Eventually, Native Americans and English Settlers began clashing over this prized possession. The final battle over the canyon came to an epic end on Sept. 28, 1874, as part of The Red River War. After Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie won the battle, it was only a matter of time before the beautiful canyon was turned over to public use.
Rich with Natural Wonders
The beautiful canyon stretches 60 miles and contains over 16,000 acres. The natural features of the canyon are towering cliffs of red, white, yellow and purple. Patches of prickly pear cactus, juniper, sunflower and mesquite set off these colorful cliffs in a fantastic way.
One of the best things about visiting this canyon is that there are plenty of hiking, walking and driving trails to choose from. Most these of trails take you to the park’s famous Lighthouse formation. In fact, you can take a guided 5-mile, round-trip tour of this formation.
When driving through the canyon, you can enjoy 16 miles of scenic views. This trail takes you through the canyon and crosses over the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River an impressive six times.
For those looking to stay awhile, there are some cabins to rent as well as primitive campsites. You can also enjoy quite a few park activities, like mountain biking, fishing, horseback riding, and geological study. Naturally, you will also be able to enjoy all the beautiful views the canyon has to offer.