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Texas: Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Posted on Sunday, August 28 @ 16:30:44 CDT by iljiana

Horse Camping & Trails 11450 Park Road 5
Canyon, TX 79015

This park has approximately 10.5 miles of trails with generally semi-rough terrain. One trail is strictly for horses, while the others are shared with other park users. The first is the Turnaround Equestrian Trail, which is about 4 miles round-trip and is for horses only; the second is the Interconnecting Trail, about 2 miles round-trip and is multi-use; and the third is the Lighthouse Trail, which is also multi-use and about 4.5 miles round-trip. Riders can wander below Turnaround Trail (1/4-mile on either side of the trail to the park boundary), but park officials advise against it because the terrain is hilly, rocky, and borders the cliffs. Visitors may bring their own horses. There are two large trailer parking areas at the designated equestrian campground near Turnaround Trail. There are 6 campsites with corral and water nearby. Camping is primitive and riders must bring water buckets for horses and walk or drive to a nearby camping area for restrooms and showers.

Old West Stables - Located inside the park on the Canyon Floor, the Old West Stables are open year-round (365 days a year) for you to explore the beauty of the Canyon, following in the footsteps of the cowboys and Indians who were here before you.

The courteous wranglers provide both a horseback tour of the scenic Timbercreek Canyon and a narrated, mule-drawn covered wagon ride. Talk with Dave Harris or one of his boys about setting up a special Ride to the Lighthouse - an all-day excursion to the awe-inspiring Sunday Canyon and the Lighthouse Rock, a formation so unique that it has been designated a National Natural Landmark.

In addition, at the Old West stables, you will find a huge variety of drinks and snacks, including the famous Palo Duro Custard on a cone. Look through the gift shop to pick out that unique item for a loved one back home and be sure to purchase one of the shirts or hats to remember your trip.

The Harris' excel in serving groups, including church groups and birthday parties and will strive to make your group outing one to remember.

For current rates, details, and reservations, please call 806/488-2180 or write us at:
Old West Stables
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
RR 2, Box 285
Canyon, Texas 79015

History: Palo Duro Canyon State Park consists of 16,402 acres in Armstrong and Randall Counties, south of Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle. The land was deeded by private owners in 1933. From 1933 until 1937, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) sent six companies of young men and military veterans to Palo Duro Canyon to develop road access to the canyon floor as well as the visitor center, cabins, shelters, and the park headquarters. The hard work of these dedicated individuals was important in the establishment of Palo Duro Canyon State Park which officially opened on July 4, 1934.

Man has inhabited Palo Duro Canyon for approximately 12,000 years. The Clovis and Folsom people first resided in the canyon and hunted large herds of mammoth and giant bison. Later on, other cultures such as the Apaches, Comanches, and Kiowas utilized the canyon’s abundant resources.

Early Spanish Explorers are believed to have discovered the area and dubbed the canyon "Palo Duro" which is Spanish for "hard wood" in reference to the abundant mesquite and juniper trees. However, an American did not officially discover the canyon until 1852 when Captain Marcy ventured into the area while searching for the headwaters of the Red River.

In 1874, Palo Duro Canyon was a battle site during the Red River Wars. Col. Mackenzie, under orders from the US Government, apprehended the Native Americans residing in the canyon by first capturing 1,400 horses and then later destroying the majority of the herd. Unable to escape, the Native Americans surrendered and were transported to reservations in Oklahoma. Then, from 1876 until 1890, most of the canyon belonged to the J.A. Ranch and was operated by Col. Charles Goodnight.

Life on the Edge” Webcast archives - Featuring Palo Duro Canyon State Park and the Panhandle Plains Museum
See the archives of this broadcast from Texas largest history museum, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. Learn about the people, animals and plants that call this area home.

Cañoncita Ranch added to Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Texas Parks and Wildlife has purchased 2,036 acres adjacent to Palo Duro Canyon State Park along the park's southern boundary. Read more...

Activities: Park activities include camping, horseback riding, hiking, nature study, bird watching, mountain biking, and scenic drives.

While in the park, stop by and enjoy our Visitor Center located on the Canyon Rim. This rustic native stone building was constructed by the CCC in 1934 and houses a Museum and Museum Store. The store is located in the Visitor Center and features books, potter, jewelry, and educational items pertaining to the Canyon.
Come and experience Palo Duro Canyon up close and personal, the way the cowboys did: On Horseback. The Old West Stables, located inside the canyon, offers guided tours to Timber Creek Canyon and the famous Lighthouse formation. Other services offered include wagon rides, campfire breakfasts, souvenirs, and a snack bar. Bring the whole family! Reservations are required. Please call (806) 488-2180.

Contact Information:
Camping Reservations (512) 389-8900
Park Information (806) 488-2227
Educational Programs (806) 488-2227, ext. 49
Pioneer Amphitheatre Box Office (806) 655-2181
Chuckwagon Restaurant (806) 488-2152
Old West Stables (806) 488-2180
For toll-free, statewide information, call Park Information at 1-800-792-1112. Current weather conditions, including fire bans and water levels, can vary from day to day. For more details, call the park or Park Information at 1-800-792-1112.

Area Attractions: Nearby activities include Storyland Zoo for Children, Nielsen Memorial Museum, Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, West Texas A&M University, Wildcat Bluff Nature Center, and Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

Facilities: Facilities include: 3 - cabins with two rooms (2 single beds, 1 Queen bed, linens and towels furnished); 4 - "Cow Camp Cabins" (2 twin beds, table & chairs, no towels or linens, restroom/showers across road); campsites with water and electricity; campsites with water; a hike-in primitive area (1/2 to 3/4 miles in, no ground fires, containerized fuel only, water 1/2 to 3/4 miles away); a hike-in primitive, equestrian area (water and pens for horses, no tables or fire rings); backpack campsites (1/2 to 2 miles, potable water at trailhead, restrooms 1/4 mile from parking; pets allowed overnight); an overflow/late arrival camping area; and a trailer dump station.
Weather: Average annual rainfall is 20.6 inches. Temperatures range from 19 degrees in January to 92 degrees in July. Flash flooding may pose a serious danger. Please monitor water levels during your stay in the park. If the water begins to rise past 6 inches on the water depth gauges at any one of our six water crossings, immediately seek shelter on higher ground. Elevation is 3676.
Schedule: Open 7 days a week year-round. Busy Season: Summer months during the play season.

Directions: The park is located about 12 miles east of Canyon on State Highway 217. From Amarillo, take Interstate 27 south to State Highway 217, and go east 8 miles.

For maps and more information:

Related Links
· USDA Forest Service
· Veterinarians
· More about Horse Camping & Trails
· News by iljiana

Most read story about Horse Camping & Trails:
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