I did not think my journey would start like this. The Palo Duro Canyon, however, was the most interesting way to somehow bridge the time until the opening of the Wonderland Amusement Park in the evening.
I’m not a philistine, I visit cities, museums and other sightseeing attractions and I always enjoy going to the theatre – but on a roller coaster tour it can be quite difficult to accommodate all of these and rushing through a city is not really my thing. Daniel’s reports about his adventures away from the usual paths of a roller coaster enthusiast always made me curious, which is why I had to visit a State or a National Park during my holiday. Luckily, the second largest canyon in the USA was just on my way.
Excited, I reached the entrance to the Palo Duro Canyon State Park around noon. After paying the small entrance fee and provided with a map, I started my discovery tour through the canyon. After a few miles, the canyon showed itself and I was immediately impressed by the beauty of the canyon. This landscape is just breathtaking.
Of course I did not want to sit in the car all the time. The flagship of the State Park is the Lighthouse Rock, which can be reached via the Lighthouse Trail (2.7 mi one way) or a combination of Givens, Spicer, Lowry Trail and Lighthouse Trail (4.2 mi in total one way). Since I did not want to hike any of the routes back and forth and did not want to hike from parking lot to parking lot via the Paseo del Rio Trail, I decided to not have a look on the Lighthouse Rock.
Instead, I started on the Pioneer Nature Trail with its length of 0.5 miles, before I moved onto the 1.4-mile Kiowa Trail, where I was spelled by the nature’s colourful beauty. Since the weather was pleasantly warm and the UV exposure was low, you could walk here without any hurry and without any great safety precautions. In summer I imagine the hike should be way more exhausting.
For the way back, I hiked the Upper Comanche Trail. This trail turned out to be a pure adventure with steep gorges, narrow paths and oncoming traffic by mountain bikers. The view was always breathtaking and every meter of this 3.4-mile trail is a really great experience, which should not be missed.
I never thought that my tour would start with such a highlight. The Palo Duro Canyon State Park was just a great experience, which I would like to repeat at some point. There are still many more paths to explore and the Lighthouse Rock is still waiting for me. There is also an amphitheater in the middle of the State Park, where the musical Texas has been played for over 50 years. Although I doubt that I would like the patriotic spectacle; a visit to the canyon is just awesome.