For our second hike at Palo Duro Canyon in West Texas, we zeroed in on what the March 2017 Backpacker article had said about the big views available from Fortress Rim on the east side of the canyon. The Rim is 800 feet above the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River and from it you can see up and down almost the entire canyon. Unlike yesterday, with its constantly shifting mix of clouds and sun, today was utterly cloudless and clear. It was even a little cooler and less humid than the day before – perfect weather for taking in expansive views from the Rim.
Palo Duro Canyon is located in the West Texas Panhandle just east of Canyon and south of Amarillo. It’s the second-largest canyon in the United States – roughly 120 miles long, with an average width of 6 miles, and a depth of between 820 and 1,000 feet. It’s been called “The Grand Canyon of Texas” both for its size and for its dramatic geological features, including the multicolored layers of rock and steep mesa walls similar to those in the (real) Grand Canyon. Despite all this grandness, we’d never heard of it until the LovedOne stumbled upon it during one of her internet rambles. Backpacker magazine then ran a story on it in their March 2017 issue. Looked fascinating. So we made plans for a hiking roadtrip to go see it for ourselves.