palo duro canyon

This weekend Josh and I’s schedules realigned to give us two days off together (rare!). We took off for Amarillo to hike in Palo Duro Canyon State Park. After arriving, we hit up the famous Big Texan Steak Ranch, not for the famous 72oz steak challenge. It was exactly as kitschy as it looks. At one point, Josh said, “This feels just like Branson.” It really did.

We spent all day on Friday in the park, hiking a loop of five different trails for a total of about 15 miles. On Saturday, we came back for two more trails and eight more miles. Since it was chilly (in the 50s) and we were there on a weekday, it was conveniently empty.

The park hosts quite a few mountain biking trails, so it was nice not to compete with that traffic. We had some of the trails completely to ourselves, which we loved. When no one’s around we can move at our own pace, goof around on the GoPro and sometimes, even sing a little. Those are normal hiking activities, right? Fewer people meant more animals too; we saw turkeys, two whitetail deer, a fox, a roadrunner and lots of blue birds.

The miles and miles of farmland in the surrounding area stretch flat as far as the eye can see, then BOOM, a canyon.  Most of the trails wound around at the bottom, only two with real elevation. We walked past all kinds of vegetation, a sorry little river, red clay and other geological formations we underappreciated.

Amarillo itself was, hmm, how do I say this? a bit well, underwhelming. We spent about fifteen minutes at Cadillac Ranch and then headed back to the hotel. I did some research, but nothing really stuck out to me as a gem. We can’t recommend the margarita at Ruby’s highly enough though!

The photos do better than any of my words.