Canyon Rim to Floor

Not As Grand But Still Great
Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Tuesday, September 5 through Saturday, September 9, 2006

You can find all of the pictures taken at Palo Duro Canyon State Park here

Driving between Texas Panhandle Plains cities like Abilene, Amarillo, Lubbock, San Angelo, and Wichita Falls you may be tempted to believe standing on a tuna fish can extends your line of sight by a hundred miles. The Panhandle is flat.

The college town of Canyon sits between Amarillo and Lubbock in the vast flat Panhandle Plains. However, drive 15 miles East from Canyon and the Panhandle Plains are interrupted by the second largest canyon in the United States. Descending from the vast flat plain into Palo Duro canyon is an ear popping experience.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park encloses the much of the Canyon. The ranger station is on the canyon rim. After entering the park through the ranger station entrance, it is just a few short miles from rim to floor, 800 feet below.

Palo Duro Canyon isn't the Grand Canyon. But as the second largest canyon, Palo Duro is awe inspiring great!

Left - an RV takes the plunge from rim to floor on the park road leading to one of the many campgrounds on the canyon floor.

We have been to Palo Duro Canyon State park before. Since we arrived after Labor Day, the park was delightfully empty.

One day, we drove West from Canyon to Buffalo National Wildlife Refuge hoping to connect with native prairie. Another day we returned to the Panhandle Plains HIstorical Museum in Canyon to explore West Texas history.

Below, a couple at the Visitor Center gazes over the canyon rim.

At night the full moon rises over the canyon rim as clouds, driven by West Texas winds, race across its face. An RV rests on the canyon floor, bathed in moonlight. All is well in the world.

Moon Over My Trailer

Windmills dot the West Texas landscape, even in Palo Duro Canyon.

Just like in the Grand Canyon, rain causes flash floods. The road below is one of six low water crossings that often flood during and after rains. Protruding from the river, the sign perched on top of the six foot measuring stick says "Flood Gauge." This day, the roads were passable. A few days before, impassible.

At quiet moments during the day, wildlife moves through campgrounds. Turkeys come through daily. Roadrunners keep hidden most of the time. Wary coyotes cross campgrounds before disappearing into woodland cover. Breeze dancing butterflies rest during lulls in music only they can hear.

Copyright © 2006 Larry Pearson - All Rights Reserved