Frequently Asked Questions

How hot does it get in the summer in the canyon?
Summertime temperatures can be brutal in the canyon. Temperatures range in the 90's to 100 degrees. It is always advisable to engage in activities in the morning or late evening due to the high heat. Visitors are encouraged to drink plenty of water and not overextend themselves physically. Do not attempt the long trails in the heat of the day.

Are alcoholic beverages allowed in the park?
There is no public consumption and/or display of an open container of alcohol(can,bottle,cup or any other container)in campsites or picnic sites. Violation of this law results in a Class C Misdemeanor and a fine from $50 to $500.

Can children ride in the back of a pick-up truck?
Children under 18 are not allowed to ride in the back of a pick-up truck. The park road is a state highway and all traffic laws are enforced.

Is there a Junior Ranger program available for children?
There is a Junior Naturalist program available for chidren ages 5-12. There are activities they must complete and have signed by a ranger before they can receive a sleeve patch at the Visitor Center/Gift shop or Gate Office when Visitor Center is closed. The activity brochure can be requested at the Visitor Center or entrance building.

Is a reservation always required for a camp site or a cabin?
A reservation is required but one can call the park headquarters office the day of arrival and see if there are sites available. There are cancellations all the time and it is possible to get a camp site or even a cabin.

How long can one stay in a campsite in the park?
Campers are limited to 14 days at the end of which they are required to leave the park.

How does one plan special events in the canyon?
The park welcomes special events in the canyon; however, they must be approved and planned through the park superintendent. There may be a fee charged for use of certain areas of the park. Contact the park superintendent for information.

When does the musical drama ''Texas'' begin?
''Texas'' officially opens June 2nd and runs through August 18th, Tuesdays through Sundays. For ticket information and reservations call (806) 655-2181.

How many miles of trails are in the park?
There are approximately 30 miles of marked trails in the park.

What types of activities are available in the park?
Hiking, road biking, mountain biking, camping, picniking, wildlife and wildflower viewing, backpacking, horseback riding and park provided educational programs and hikes are all available in Palo Duro Canyon.

Is there a ''best'' area for birdwatching?
There is a Wildlife Viewing Blind located behind the Palo Duro Trading Post that provides a quiet place to watch birds. A water feature is in place along with feeders. Photos are posted on the walls for those who need help with identification.

What are Park Hosts and what are their duties?
Park Hosts are volunteers who supplement the park staff and serve as representatives of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The primary duty of the Park Host is to seve in the assigned Camp Loop as the ''First Line'' of the park: assisting in changing sites, resolving minor problems, giving directions and acting as the park's ''Eyes and Ears'' in the loop. Radios are provided to the Park Hosts so that contacat with the Headquarters can be maintained.

How many hours do Park Hosts work and what compensation do they receive?
Hosts will normally serve a minimum of 24 hours per week. Hosts will be given ''Days Off'' during the week when they may feel free to venture out and explore the surrounding areas.
In return for their services, Hosts are given designated campsites with water, electricty and sewer hook-ups.

How does one apply for being a Park Host?
Contact: for information and an application.

As a part of the application process an Authorization and Consent for Disclosure of Criminal History Information sheet will be included and required.

Are pets allowed in the park?
Pets are allowed in the park but must be on a leash and attended at all times. They are not allowed to run loose on the trails or in the camping areas nor are they allowed in any of the park buildings unless they are a service animal. Pets may not be kept outside any of the rim cabins or cow camps in either crates, tied or in a vehicle. Park regulations require pet droppings be picked up and desposited in dumpster.

Can we rent horses from the stables and ride anywhere we want in the park?
The riding stable only provides horses for guided rides.

Can we bring our own horses and ride in the park?
Visitors may bring their own horses and ride only on the trails marked for equestrian use. They may also camp in the equestrian area and use the pens provided for their horses. Under no circumstances may horses be placed in the pens and riders camp elsewhere. Horses may not be ridden on the road or to the restrooms. A current negative Coggins test is required for each horse. All white markings must be correctly drawn on the Coggins test papers. If doubt exists from the park employee comparing horse to papers, the horse may not be brought in.

Where can weddings be held in Palo Duro Canyon?
There are (3) options for weddings in the park: (1)Find a scenic area and pay only entry fees. Must be a small group and traffic is not blocked.
(2) Rent the Lone Star Interpretive Theater for $100 and pay entry fees. Reservation for use of Lone Star made at park. (3) Rent the newly constructed Mack Dick Group Pavillion for $500 through the Central Reservation Center (512)389-8900 and pay entry fees. Special entry fee rate for groups may apply. Inquire at park.

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