One of my favorite places to camp is Palo Duro Canyon. I have some fun memories of the park from the times my family would tent camp in the canyon. Once we were sitting at the campsite table talking and laughing when my husband hushed everyone. We sat listening and heard the rustling of leaves. We looked under the table and saw what was making the noise. It was a centipede taking a morning walk. It was longer than a clothespin and about the size of nickel around. It was the first time I ever heard an insect walking.
10 Things about Palo Duro Canyon:
- Second largest canyon in the US at over 120 miles long, the park is 70 miles long, average width 6 miles – up to 20 miles wide in places – depth is 800’.
- Palo Duro is Spanish for “hard stick.”
- Nickname Grand Canyon of Texas
- Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River is the river that carves the canyon.
- Some the geological formations in the canyon include mesas, caves, and hoodoos (rock balanced atop a smaller base).
- First human habitation 10,000-15,000 years ago with the Clovis and Folsom peoples and has been continuously inhabited since then. First Europeans to discover the canyon were part of the Coronado Expedition in 1541.
- The park was built utilizing the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) – took five years.
- Park covers 28,000 acres, second largest park in Texas.
- Using the canyon as a backdrop, the Texas Outdoor Musical has been running for 50 years.
- Painter Georgia O’Keeffe described the canyon as, “It is a burning, seething cauldron, filled with dramatic light and color.”
The inspiration for my story Canyon Riddle came from this place. If you get the opportunity to visit this amazing place, take it!