Exploring Palo Duro Canyon is more than just visiting the state park. In fact, most of Palo Duro Canyon lies outside the park’s 20,000 acres in Randall and Armstrong counties. There are three main highways running into the northern parts of the canyon; Highway 256 near Silverton, Highway 86 near Quitaque and my favorite, Highway 207 near Wayside.
Highway 207 runs roughly northeast from Wayside to Claude and meanders through the canyon bottom as it crosses the Prairie Dog Town Fork Red River*. At each end of the canyon there are several spots to pull off the road and photograph the canyon in the early morning or late evening.
Sunrise in Palo Duro Canyon comes abruptly as the sun climbs over the canyon wall and illuminates the mist rising from the river. Sunset arrives at a much more leisurely pace as the sun slowly sinks in the west and highlights the canyon wall with it’s beautifully, warm glow. Add a few late afternoon clouds and you’ve got a recipe for a classic canyon photograph.
Georgia O’Keeffe, the famous painter who lived in nearby Amarillo wrote of Palo Duro Canyon stating: “It is a burning, seething cauldron, filled with dramatic light and color.”
View Location on Panoramio & Google Earth: Palo Duro Canyon, Texas