Hiking the Lighthouse Rock at Palo Duro Canyon

From Flat Panhandle to Surprising Canyon

We put on our hiking shoes and went on a Palo Duro Canyon State Park adventure! Driving through the flat Texas Panhandle, it was hard to imagine that the second-largest canyon in the USA (after the Grand Canyon!) was lying just ahead. But then, quite suddenly, the flatness transformed into a stunning canyon wonderland. We paid our park fees, went into the visitor center, and asked for hiking recommendations. The park ranger suggested the scenic Lighthouse Trail, a moderate 6-mile roundtrip leading to the symbol of Palo Duro Canyon, the iconic Lighthouse Rock formation.

A Palette of Greens, Reds, and Blues

So, the Lighthouse Trail, it was! Spring had sprung in Texas, and Palo Duro Canyon was celebrating with bright colors! We hiked through a three-color world of vibrant green oak bushes, deep red canyon walls, and a bright blue-painted sky. No matter how often we see it, this color palette never stops getting old.

Easy ... Until The Climb

Most of the hike was easy: a flat trail, breathtaking views, and a perfect temperature with a cool breeze. But then came the climb to the Lighthouse Rock, a real challenge with a slippery, steep slope. The view from the top was worth the climb’s challenge, though. We refueled with lunch at the foot of the Lighthouse while soaking in the stunning canyon vistas.

A Save Descent with A Creative Slide

Now, on the way down, things got even more interesting. We accidentally took a different route and followed an even steeper and slippier trail unsuitable for two-legged adventurers. So, I did what any responsible hiker would do: I sat down and glided down. Thank goodness, no other hikers saw me in this embarrassing situation. However, the gliding accomplished my main goal, returning safely to the easy part of the trail.


Wednesday, April 3, 2024


6.16 miles

Moving Time

2:17:01 hours


52 °F, moderate breeze, sun and clouds