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Anyone Ever Hike The Palo Duro Canyon?


SAT
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In the fall of this year I want to hike the Palo Duro Canyon (The Grand Canyon Of Texas). Up till now I'm just a day hiker but I want to do a 3-4 day trip fairly close to home. I figured this would be a great way to get started and to get my gear tested and bugs worked out. Does anyone have any tips that may help my planning process? Is there a lot of people? Is there anywhere to obtain water in the back country? Thank you ahead of time.

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What's close to you are Hill Country & Lost Maples State Natural Areas, which are great places for a night or two of backpacking. And Big Bend is the only world-class backpacking destination in Texas - it's canyons are much grander than the caprocks of Amarillo. I'd have spent a lot more time in Big Bend if I was as close as you are.

I considered visiting Palo Duro when I lived in Ft. Worth, but it's not really a backpacking destination. I thought Caprock Canyon seemed more interesting. Instead I drove past dozens of times because I was halfway to the Rockies by the time I got to Amarillo, and the Rockies are truely awesome for backpacking.

Edited by toejam
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Hey toejam, I guess what lured me in was they say its the "grand canyon of Texas." From what I read it is the second largest canyon in north America. The pictures I saw of palo duro kind of remind me of southern Utah and I love Utah. I'll have to look into Caprock canyon. I'm board with the parks close to me. I live 18 minutes from Hill Country sna and I'm out there 3-4 days a week training for the thru-hike I'm planning next year. Just need a change. Government canyon, garner, lost maples, etc are just jam packed with people and I really prefer peace and quiet on the trail. Big Bend is a viable option that I have considered for a long time. The only thing that holds me back is the fact that there is a lot of drug runners out there and 99% of the time I usually hike alone.  Anyway, thanks for the reply.

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Jarrett.Morgan

Palo Duro canyon is a pretty neat place, but you would be hard pressed to find a way to backpack for 3 to 4 days.  However, it wouldn't be to bad if you car camped for 3.  To jump on the Big Bend train with Toejam, it's a great place.  I am planning a trip to BB this November, which will probably be solo.  I honestly would not be concerned about drug runners especially if you are doing the outer mountain loop (most popular).  Check out the bigbendchat forums for trip reports and there are plenty of people going solo with no issues other than water.

Another place that will be fairly close is Goodwater loop/trail that travels around Lake Georgetown.  It should be a nice change of pace.

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I was hiking through one of the Lake Georgetown campgrounds with a full pack when people in a car asked, "How far does the trail go?" "26 miles," I replied to looks of surprise. I hiked it several times with a friend who's hiking the PCT right now.

The drug runners won't be climbing into the Chisos Mountains. I never heard stories of backpackers being harrassed by bad guys.

I hiked the Rancherias Loop in Big Bend Ranch State Park several times. It's remote and rough, but has running water. I looked for info about it on bigbendchat.com recently, but only found something I wrote 8 years ago. I'm guessing it's still remote and rough.

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  Hey Jarrett.Morgan, I have actually changed my mind about going to Palo Duro Canyon. I think I'm going to try Big Bend but I will need to research it a little more. A friend on mine was mountain biking out there a couple of years ago and had a freaky encounter but I'm gonna give it a shot. Thanks for the info. Lake Georgetown sounds interesting. 26 Mile trail sounds fun. Should be plenty of water there.

  Hey toejam, Every single person I know think I'm nuts for wanting to hike/backpack long trails. I will check out the trail reports on bigbendchat.com once I finish moving and start planning. I also want to do a small section of Colorado CDT this summer (maybe). Thanks for the info. I guess it's Hill Country SNA for now.

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On April 23, 2016 at 7:13 PM, SAT said:

I also want to do a small section of Colorado CDT this summer

I never had a bad hiking trip to Colorado. Also check out the Pecos Wilderness in New Mexico.

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  • 2 weeks later...
gearfreak

I've wanted to visit there and was in the area last year on a trip from South Florida to Colorado Springs, but unfortunately couldn't spare the time. The location has significant history in the relocation of plains Indians (Comanches, Kiowas, Kiowa Apaches, Cheyennes, and Arapahos). Research the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon. Another blemish in American history.

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