Areas in Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Back Country 0 / 0 / 0 / 13 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 13
Boulder Gardens, The 0 / 0 / 0 / 61 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 61
Fortress Cliff Area 1 / 0 / 1 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Fourth Water Crossing Boulders, The 0 / 0 / 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
GSL Trail Area 0 / 0 / 3 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 9
Gutter, The 0 / 0 / 0 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Horseshoe Cliff 3 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Hueco Point (Closed) 2 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Indian Springs 5 / 0 / 7 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 8
Sorenson Point 5 / 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Sorenson Point (Bouldering) 1 / 0 / 0 / 9 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 10
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DescriptionPalo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the country. At more than 800 feet deep and 120 miles long the canyon is a great place to escape the seemingly featureless landscape of the Texas panhandle. Landmarks such as the Lighthouse, Capitol Peak, Castle Peak, and Sorenson Point capture the imaginations of visitors and inspire the cherokee indians of old to come alive within the minds of tourists.
The canyon hosts arguably some of the best mountain biking in Texas. The Lighthouse trail is by far the most popular and makes an excellent day hike that should not be missed. Hiking in the canyon can be very exciting if you make it that way. The clay type dirt is easily excavated by torrents of water leaving the canyon with dozens of caves for the bold explorer. Scrambling in the canyon is sure to give a rush as all the footing is generally loose, as my good friend said, "Everything in the canyon moves!"
Palo Duro Canyon is pretty much the only local crag in the Amarillo/Canyon area. Rock quality can be questionable at times, but usually its pretty good providing the Amarillo area with some great climbing. I wouldn't, however, suggest traveling far to come climb in the canyon. Though there are a few good routes, the overall the rock quality is generally poor. I'm no geologist, but there are really two types of climbable rock at the Canyon. The first is a very brittle and rough conglomerate type sandstone found in the boulder fields and a few select cliffs. The second is a much softer sandstone found on most of the cliffs in the canyon.
Much of the rock is very soft and fragile, please try your best to avoid pulling out on flakes and breaking holds! I know of several classic routes that were quickly sent to the chosspile because people were being dumb and yarding on holds. Please climb carefully! Also, be mindful of where your ropes rub the rock. The sandstone here is very soft and it is our responsibility to preserve it for future generations. Please be proactive in padding edges and avoid scenarios that allow your rope to cut through the rock like cheese.
The majority of climbing here is bouldering, although a handful of trad climbs exist. There are also two aid lines that I know of if that's your thing. Potential for new routes in the canyon is huge with hundreds of boulders and walls being completely untouched.
Climbing Access Open - Keep a low profile. Details
Climbing in the canyon is legal, but please maintain a low profile. Please leave no trace to minimize the chances of the park closing to climbers.
Getting ThereA short 30 min drive from Amarillo makes the canyon easily accessed.
Follow I-27 south past Canyon and take exit 217 and turn left. Continue 10 miles on 217 to the park entrance (be prepared to pay $4 per person). Once past the gate, continue on what is now the very windy Park RD 5 down the big hill into the canyon. See individual areas for further approach information.
Approaches are generally short and in the 5-10 minute range.
Classic Climbing Routes at Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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Prime Climbing Season