Cabin Rentals, Tent sites & RV sites with water & electricity. Hiking and mountain bike trails. On-site horse rentals. Picnic tables & grills under immense cottonwood trees. Interpretive Center & Gift Shop with history, geology, & wildlife exhibits.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park opened on July 4, 1934 and contains 29,182 acres of the scenic, northern most portion of the Palo Duro Canyon. The Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930's constructed most of the buildings and roads still in use by park staff and visitors.

The Canyon is 120 miles long, as much as 20 miles wide, and has a maximum depth of more than 800 feet. Its elevation at the rim is 3,500 feet above sea level. It is often claimed that Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the United States. The largest, the Grand Canyon, is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and 6,000 ft. deep.

Palo Duro Canyon was formed by water erosion from the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River. The water deepens the canyon by moving sediment downstream. Wind and water erosion gradually widen the canyon.

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.

Click here for more history & detail. (by TSHA)

Partners in Palo Duro Canyon

    Hours of Operation:
The park's gate opens automatically at 7:00am and closes automatically at 10:00pm.
Park Headquarters opens at 8:00am daily, and closing times will vary by season.
During hours when Park Headquarters is closed and the gate is open, please use the
self-pay station located just inside the gate.

For entry into the park outside of the Headquarters hours of operation, the
self-pay station should be used.

The self-pay station is located just outside of the Park Headquarters Building.

More information: 806-488-2227 ext. 2065

Photo Contest

Humans have resided in the canyon for approximately 12,000 years. Early settlers were nomadic tribes that hunted mammoth, giant bison, and other large game animals. Later, Apache Indians lived in the canyon, but were soon replaced by Comanche and Kiowa tribes who resided in the area until 1874. At that time, Col. Ranald Mackenzie was sent into the area to transport the Native Americans to Oklahoma. Col. Mackenzie and the 4th Cavalry were able to capture more than 1,400 horses belonging to the tribe. After keeping some of the best horses for themselves, the remainder were taken to nearby Tule Canyon and destroyed. Cut off from their only means of transportation, the Native Americans soon surrendered.

In 1876, Charles Goodnight entered the canyon and opened the JA Ranch. At its peak, the ranch supported more than 100,000 head of cattle. Goodnight operated the ranch until 1890. Although only a fraction of its original size, the JA Ranch remains a working ranch today.

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