We left the fields and birds of NW Oklahoma behind and headed just south of Amarillo, TX to Palo Duro State Park. Suggested to us by a good friend, we wanted to check out the "Grand Canyon of Texas". We booked our reservations online via the Texas State Park system for a week in the Sagebrush Camping area. This is a large park with several areas available depending on your activities. For us this was a week of rest for Roux, exploration, photography, and campfires with good food. https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/palo-duro-canyon
We used some of the discount available on our Texas State Parks card so the total for our 8 days was $164. We camped at the Sagebrush Camping area as you enter the canyon. There weren’t that many units throughout the park, so we had our choice. We chose a beautiful back-in spot that was bordered on each side by cedars offering decent privacy. There is NO cell signal or internet capability down in the canyon, but you can get online on top at the Visitors Center or once you travel to town. There are heated bathroom/free showers and covered picnic tables for each site. There are fire pits, but there was a burn ban during our visit. There are 3 campgrounds that can accommodate RVs with elec/water hookups. There are several others for tent campers, and youth groups as well. The park also offers a very good Visitors Center with museum, horseback riding stables, and a Trading Post featuring gifts and a full service snack bar.
Palo Duro Sagebrush Camp
We spent the first few days on our own heated tank water supply as the night time temps dipped well into the low 20s. We did not have a heated hose so we did not hook up to their water spigots till temps warmed. Being in a deep canyon, the temperatures are noticeably cooler than at the top. It is 16 miles into the nearest town of Canyon, TX for any type of supplies or laundry. Unfortunately, Barb and I both had whopper colds the first day or two our stay which also pretty much occupied our time.
This is one of the more popular parks in Texas, famous for it’s beauty. There are miles of trails for both hikers and mountain bikers to explore. The area abounds with deer, Aoudad Sheep, coyote, cougar, bobcats, turkey, rabbits, feral pigs, as well as a variety of snakes and raptors. Thankfully, no rattlesnakes this time of year. We even managed to get in a day or two of Geocaching as the park contains nearly 2 dozen caches.
Although Barb never really got well, we explored the park for the better part of 5 days taking in as much beauty as we could. I even got some B & W work done. It was cool to cold during our stay, but we have no complaints; they had several inches of snow south of us. Our progressively aging bodies walked several trails, but made sure to eat well every night. We dined on Rockfish w/Chutney and Salad, Skillet Spaghetti & Garlic Bread, Spicy Chorizo Egg Cheese Sandwiches, and Clam Strips & FF to name a few.
Skillet Spaghetti w/Cudighi and Garlic Bread
It is a beautiful park, well maintained and pristine. The various colors and shades of limestone cliffs, walls, hoodoos, and erosions were pretty as any we have seen throughout the southwest. We thoroughly enjoyed our time here. It didn’t hurt that there weren’t that many people visiting when we did. Although much cooler, we love the off season. Off to San Antonio from here. Two days drive with an overnight boondock in Abilene to begin our Christmas vacation on the Riverwalk this year.
"To awaken alone in a strange town is one
of the pleasantest sensations in the world"
WiFi courtesy of Texas State Parks