Frequently Asked Questions

Can you drive through the park?
Yes, there is a scenic drive of about 16 miles that takes you to the floor of the canyon and that features beautiful views of the scenery.

How hot does it get in the summer in the canyon?
Summertime temperatures can be brutal in the canyon. Temperatures often range from the 90s to 115 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 alcohol (can, bottle, cup or any other container) permitted in campsites or day use areas. 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 Ranger program available for children ages 4-12. There are activities they must complete and have signed by a ranger before they can receive a sleeve patch at the Visitor Center or Park Headquarters. The activity brochure can be requested at the Visitor Center or Park Headquarters.

Is a reservation always required for a camp site or a cabin?
While walk-ins are welcome and reservations are not actually required, they are strongly recommended as the park tends to book up regularly. To check availability and make a reservation, please visit or call (512) 389-8900.

How long can one stay in a campsite in the park?
Campers are limited to 14 consecutive days at the end of which they are required to leave the park. Those wishing to stay longer may be interested in our park host program. For more information, please visit

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 the first weekend in June and runs through August mid-August each year, with shows happening Tuesdays through Sundays. For ticket information and reservations call (806) 655-2181.

How many miles of trails are in the park?
There are approximately 50 miles of marked trails in the park. They vary in length and difficulty level. Most are multi-use, although some are specified for bikers only, hikers only, equestrian only, etc. For a trail map, please visit Park Headquarters or check out

What types of activities are available in the park?
Hiking, road biking, mountain biking, a scenic drive, camping, picnicking, 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. Any of the trails throughout the park have the potential to be excellent bird watching spots.

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 serve in the assigned camping loop as the "First Line" of the park: assisting in changing sites, resolving minor problems, giving directions, and maintaining a high level of safety and cleanliness in the loop. Radios are provided to the Park Hosts so that contact with Headquarters can be maintained.

How many hours do Park Hosts work and what compensation do they receive?
Hosts will serve a minimum of 24 hours per week. Hosts are required to serve a minimum of 1 month and can stay up to six months without Superintendent approval. 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, electricity, and sewer hook-ups. They will also have access to wi-fi at designated places in the park, and laundry facilities are also available.

How does one apply for being a Park Host?
For information and to apply, visit For specific questions, please contact the park interpreter and volunteer coordinator Jeff Davis at
As a part of the application process, all hosts will be required to consent to a criminal background check to help ensure the safety of our visitors, volunteers, and staff.

Are pets allowed in the park?
Pets are allowed in the park but must be on a leash and attended at all times. Only service animals are allowed inside state vehicles and buildings. No animals may be kept unattended outside in crates, tied to a post, inside a vehicle, etc. Park regulations require pet droppings be picked up and deposited in dumpster.
Can we rent horses from the stables and ride anywhere we want in the park?
The Old West Stables located inside the park only provides horses for guided rides. For more information, visit

Can we rent horses from the stables and ride anywhere we want in the park?
The riding stable provides horses only 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. Riders must stay with their horses at all times while camping or otherwise using the park facilities. 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 will not be allowed into the park.

Where can weddings be held in Palo Duro Canyon?
There are (4) options for weddings in the park:
(1)Hold a less formal, short wedding at a scenic spot somewhere in the park and pay only entrance fees. These groups must be small and must not block trails or access to any facilities.
(2) Rent the Lone Star Interpretive Theater for $100 per day and pay entrance fees. Reservations for the use of Lone Star Interpretive Theater can be made at park.
(3) Rent the Mack Dick Group Pavillion for $1000 per day (plus a $500 refundable deposit) through the Central Reservation Center (512)389-8900 and pay entry fees. Special entrance fee rate for groups may apply. Inquire at park.
(4) Rent the Tasajillo Group Pavilion for $500 per day through the Central Reservation Center (512)389-8900 and pay entry fees. Special entrance fee rate for groups may apply. Inquire at park.

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