Palo duro canyon cabins

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Vacation On the Edge of the World: Rim Cabins of Palo Duro Canyon

Long referred to as “The Grand Canyon of Texas,” Palo Duro Canyon State Park has something else it’s famed for. Its onsite accommodations make those who stay in them feel like they’re living life on the edge – literally! The Rim Cabins of Palo Duro consist of three small abodes: the Sorenson, the Lighthouse, and the Goodnight.

Palo Duro Canyon is America’s second-largest canyon. This North Texas treasure is approximately a 30-minute drive from Amarillo and is close to 120 miles long, 800 feet in depth, and 20 miles in width. Visitors have found that one of the most enjoyable ways to see all of its spectacular views is to stay on the canyon rim itself. The three Rim Cabins in the state park were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s but have since received some upgrades. They come complete with heaters and air conditioners, as well as microwaves. The only downside to these quaint accommodations is the no-pets policy. Park Interpreter and Volunteer Coordinator Lindsay B. Pannell identified, “Our … cabins have the rustic charm and modern conveniences to make any stay nice. But the real gem is the view. Each cabin is sitting at the edge of the spectacular Palo Duro Canyon with vistas of the Spanish Skirts, soaring turkey vultures, not to mention the absolutely breathtaking sunrise that kisses the far canyon rim with stunning zeal every morning.”


Lodging near Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas

Find your adventure-filled home away from home

Romantic outdoor getaway, luxury walking vacation, or exciting family break full with outdoor activities: whatever the occasion, hotels near Palo Duro Canyon State Park deliver. If you adore the great outdoors, getting a place to stay near Palo Duro Canyon State Park is the answer.Indulge in hiking through meadows, canoeing along rivers, bouldering, climbing, and filling every day with outdoor adventures and discovery. Palo Duro Canyon State Park really is the place to be. With 351 lodges, cabins and hotels in the park and the surrounding towns, your perfect adventure is ready and waiting for you. And with prices ranging from $85 per night to $550 per night, it’s easy to find lodging or campsites near Palo Duro Canyon State Park that suits your budget, too. 

Build your dream trip to enjoy the wilderness

To find the perfect Palo Duro Canyon State Park hotel, enter your travel dates, and hit search. From here, you can sort lodging near Palo Duro Canyon State Park by price and rating or filter by property type, amenities, and budget. Want a cabin in the woods, a private hot tub, or a pet-friendly stay? No problem! If location is more important than luxuries, you can use the map feature to search as you move. 

Palo Duro Canyon State Park hotels - a brilliant base in any season

Places to stay near Palo Duro Canyon State Park offer something wonderful at different times of the year and bring you amazing experiences not to be missed. You can be sure of a great vacation in Texas when you visit Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Palo Duro Canyon State Park is busy all year round, but during the summer season in particular is at its most exciting. 

Let Expedia take you there

Whenever you decide to visit Texas, Expedia has amazing deals on loads of the fantastic lodging Palo Duro Canyon State Park has to explore—all in one place. All you need to do is find the accommodation that checks all your boxes. At Expedia, we make it easy to narrow your search and find exactly what you’re looking for. And with free cancellation on most hotel rooms and many buy now, pay later options, you can build your dream vacation in Palo Duro Canyon State Park with total peace of mind. 

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Check Out Pastures and Caves Near Palo Duro Canyon Cabins in Texas

Palo Duro Canyon is a varied and massive state park, with almost 30,000 acres of land to explore. With natural features including interesting geologic formations and miles of hiking to enjoy, it's a real treat for any type of outdoor adventurer. It's just half an hour's drive from Amarillo.

Places to Stay Near to Palo Duro Canyon

The Best Hiking Trails in Palo Duro Canyon base64HashThe Best Hiking Trails in Palo Duro Canyon

The Best Hiking Trails in Palo Duro Canyon

Palo Duro Canyon trails will take you around the area's most interesting sights, including wildlife, caves, and historic sites.

Places to Stay Near to Palo Duro Canyon

Best Family Activities in Palo Duro Canyon base64HashBest Family Activities in Palo Duro Canyon

Best Family Activities in Palo Duro Canyon

Besides exploring the natural features on the hiking trails, there's plenty to see and do when you rent Palo Duro Canyon hotels or cabins.

Places to Stay Near to Palo Duro Canyon

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Visit Other Popular State Parks

Palo Puro State Park - Goodnight Cabin

Drive up the highway toward Amarillo, and the city fades away. The land turns into rocky terrain stubbled with cacti under hazy blue skies. There, you’ll find the second biggest canyon in the United States, Palo Duro Canyon. Around 120 miles long, 20 miles wide, and 800 feet deep, Palo Duro Canyon is one of the most stunning geological marvels in the state. 

From Collin County, whether you live in Plano, Frisco or McKinney, the drive to Palo Duro Canyon will take less than 6 hours. Although, you’ll definitely want to plan some scheduled breaks. The road does take you directly through Wichita Falls which may not be a top tourist destination but is a decent sized town so makes for a good pit stop with plenty of food options.

It’s easy to drive through Palo Duro Canyon; you can drive the loop around the canyon in half an hour. But to do that would mean missing some of the truest gems of Palo Duro.

People come from all over to stand on the canyon rim, ride on horseback down into the canyon floor, and see the majesty of Palo Duro’s most famous rock formation, the Lighthouse. More than 50 miles of trails snake through the property, dotted with roadrunners and turkey vultures. The cave trail takes intrepid wanderers through a series of cool, shady caves cut out of sandstone. It’s an easy trail and a lightly trafficked one, ending in a formation called Judy’s Arch. Inside the caves, the temperatures drop, and hikers find respite from the sun. At the trading post, hikers stop for well-earned lunches of cheeseburgers and fried pickles—and to stock up on gas, supplies, and most importantly, water.

Easily the best way to enjoy Palo Duro Canyon is to stay overnight. The Sorenson, Lighthouse, and Goodnight cabins were built by the CCC in the 1930s. They perch on the rim of the canyon like ants on the edge of a bowl with dizzying views of the Spanish Skirts. Every morning, sunrise over the canyon through the bedroom windows. Though their unique exteriors are largely unchanged, park rangers have updated the cabins. Each one offers air conditioning, heaters, and microwaves. They are available for rent through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The cost to stay in a cabin on the rim of Palo Duro Canyon varies between just $60 per night up to $125. And, while you may think $60 seems like a great deal, keep in mind that these cabins, the Cow Camp cabins, do not have restroom facilities. According to the website, restrooms and showers are located nearby.

Throughout the year, the state park hosts all kinds of guided hikes and birding tours. In addition, their several campgrounds throughout the state park provide the bare bones needed for RVs to park, and easy access to their various trails.

Palo Duro Canyon

11450 State Hwy Park Rd 5, Canyon, TX 79015

Palo Duro Canyon State Park is open daily, 7:00AM – 10:00PM
The Park is now open for day use and camping.
All roads and trails are open for normal activities.

Reservations for day use and camping are strongly recommended and can be made online at or by calling (512) 389-8900.

Facial coverings are encouraged when inside park buildings.

If you’re looking for more best Texas getaways, click here.

Originally published as part of the May/June 2021 Weekend Getaways Issue.To all those who crave starlight, beaches, and summer breezes: Texas highways are calling you. From rugged stone canyons to the kind comfort of hill country, Texas destinations are ready to welcome weary travelers. If you’re feeling cooped up this year, it’s time to run free.


Cabins canyon palo duro

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Which Price Range Is Most Typical in Palo Duro Canyon, TX Area?

Vacation House & Condo Rental Price Information in Palo Duro Canyon, TX

The graph shows the percentages of vacation homes in each price bucket. Palo Duro Canyon has the largest percentage (25.45%) of homes in $100 - $150 price range.

What Are The Popular Property Types in Palo Duro Canyon, TX?

Most Picked Accommodations in Palo Duro Canyon, TX

In Palo Duro Canyon, 53.15% of listings are House, which is the most popular accommodation out of 25 total accommodation types. Avg price per night for House is around $240. And the most searched amenities for House accommodation is Hot Tub.The least popular accommodation in Palo Duro Canyon is Mobile Home rentals

How Many Accommodations Are Pets Allowed in Palo Duro Canyon, TX?

Percentage of Pet Friendly Rental Properties in Palo Duro Canyon, TX

17.26% of vacation homes in Palo Duro Canyon are pet friendly. Either you bring your loved pets on vacation or you have pet allergies, make sure to select the homes by applying the right filters.

What Are The Must-Visit Places in Palo Duro Canyon, TX?

Tourist Attractions In Palo Duro Canyon, TX

When you have only limited times to spend in Palo Duro Canyon, we highly recommend you to visit those famous places:

Which Airports Should I Choose To Get To Palo Duro Canyon, TX?

Top Airports in Palo Duro Canyon, TX

1 airport(s) close to Palo Duro Canyon are:

Which local pharmacy and grocery stores are popular in Palo Duro Canyon, TX?

Pharmacy & Grocery Stores

There is a Medi-Drive Pharmacy in Canyon. In addition, there is a Sam’s Club and a Walmart, both with pharmacies, in Canyon.

There is an average of 186 property crimes, consisting of burglary, theft, and auto theft, in the area each year. There is an average of 16 violent crimes in the area each year, making the area safer than 49 percent of other cities in the country.

What are the travel peak seasons in Palo Duro Canyon, TX?

Peak Seasons

The average monthly temperature in Palo Duro Canyon is as follows:

  • January – low of 25F (-4C); high of 55F (13C)
  • February – low of 29F (-2C); high of 59F (15C)
  • March – low of 36F (2C); high of 68F (20C)
  • April – low of 44F (7C); high of 76F (24C)
  • May – low of 54F (12C); high of 84F (29C)
  • June – low of 64F (18C); high of 93F (34C)
  • July – low of 68F (20C); high of 95F (35C)
  • August – low of 67F (19C); high of 93F (34C)
  • September – low of 59F (15C); high of 87F (31C)
  • October – low of 47F (8C); high of 77F (25C)
  • November – low of 35F (2C); high of 64F (18C)
  • December – low of 27F (-3C); high of 55F (13C)

Summer months in the area are very hot and muggy while winters in Palo Duro Canyon are fairly mild.

What are the activities in Palo Duro Canyon, TX that are family friendly?

Family Friendly Activities

Palo Duro Adventure Park focuses on adventure for all ages with their Big Zip Line Ride, offering amazing views of the canyon. There is also a bouldering and rappelling adventure with certified guides who will give you the ultimate experience. The bouldering and rappelling adventures use real rocks on a 13-story cliff, so the workout is incredible. They are located at 11100 State Highway 217 East in Canyon.

Before your trip, download the Big Sky Texas Area State Park Geocache Challenge Passport for some fun geocaching with the family. The state has hidden special geocaches in the 20 state parks and you can find a list of the waypoints to enter into the passport. Inside each cache is a logbook for you to log your name, date, and message as well as special state park geocards which are yours to keep. Use the card to answer the questions on the passport. There is also a punch to use to punch out the black circle next to the park name as well. There may be small trinkets that you can trade for one you brought yourself. Once you have found 10 of the 20, mail your passport in and you may win a free Texas Geocache coin.

There are several locations where you can take the family horseback riding. You can choose a guided tour along some of the trails in the area or, if you are experienced riders, take horses out on your own to explore.

What does the calendar look like for local events & festivals in Palo Duro Canyon, TX?

Local Events & Festivals

Texas Outdoor Musical offers performances at the Pioneer Amphitheater Tuesday through Sunday evenings from June through August. The show is family-friendly and claims to be a “musical romance of panhandle history.” The show began in 1960 when Margaret Harper read about Paul Green, a playwright who had written several drams about regions of Texas. A small group of families in the area funded Green’s trip to the panhandle and he dedicated himself to bringing the history of the area to the stage.

Held in the state park every December, the Hot Air Balloon Festival has something for everyone. Santa visits and there are crafts, live music, and hot chocolate. In addition, visitors can view beautiful hot air balloons. Entry to the event is simply a canned good or boxed food item and all proceeds go to benefit the High Plains Food Bank.

How to plan 1 or 2 or 3-day trip itineraries in Palo Duro Canyon, TX?

Trip Planning

On the first day, take a ride around the area where you can see Longhorn cattle roaming the pasture. Be sure to travel the Palo Duro Canyon Loop for some beautiful photos with stunning backdrops. Take the Lighthouse Trail to see the most famous hoodoo in the canyon before heading to lunch at Fat Boy’s BBQ. After lunch, spend some time geocaching in the state park and fill your need for speed with a zipline through the trees. 

The next morning, grab breakfast at Feldman’s Wrong Way Diner before taking a ride to Amarillo to see Cadillac Ranch and Combine City. Grab lunch at Pepito’s before heading to Bar Z Winery for a wine tasting. Spend the afternoon at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum before grabbing dinner at El Patio, followed by drinks at Canyon Ranch.

What are the nightlife spots in Palo Duro Canyon, TX?

Nightlife Spots

At Canyon Ranch, there is always something happening. You can catch the big game on their large-screen televisions while you enjoy a cold beer or specialty cocktail. Family-owned and operated, Canyon Ranch is the place locals go for live music. In addition to the full bar, you can enjoy steakhouse cuisine that is fresh and made to order. Nothing on the menu costs more than $20, so you can bring the whole family for a delicious meal, listen to live music, or watch the game. They are located at 410 15th Street.

Back 40 Grill offers good food, excellent drinks, and live music. Food specials include half-priced burgers all day on Thursday or half-priced chicken fried steak on Tuesday. Drink specials include $4 Tito’s drinks on Tuesday and $4 Moscow Mules on Thursday. On Friday, enjoy $3 Long Island Iced Tea and on Sunday, be sure to try their $2 Mimosa or Bloody Mary. They are located at 1512 5th Avenue in Canyon.

What are the must-visit places in Palo Duro Canyon, TX?

Must See Attractions

Palo Duro Canyon State Park offers many activities, including mountain biking, horseback riding, and hiking. It is a popular area for bird watchers as well. There are campsites designed for tents, RVs, and even equestrians as well as primitive backpack camping spots. You can even go “glamping,” renting one of the air-conditioned luxury tents complete with a refrigerator, microwave, gas grill, bicycles, and more. The park entrance is located at 11450 Park Road 5 in Canyon.

Located in the Palo Duro Canyon State Park, the Rock Garden Trail provides you with views of beautiful wildflowers and other scenery that are a must-see while visiting the area. The trail is rated as moderate and is designed for either hikers or mountain bikers. Leashed dogs are also permitted on the trail which runs for about five miles.

The Big Cave is an easy walk from the road and, from a distance, it looks much larger than it actually is. You can climb up to the cave and actually step inside for some beautiful views of the canyon from the cave opening.

The Rock Garden Trail is a fairly new addition to the park, winding through large rocks and boulders to create a feeling like you are on another planet. The only trail that takes you to Palo Duro’s rim, the trail is rated moderate to difficult. The views, however, are breathtaking.

Where are the hidden gems or unique spots to visit in Palo Duro Canyon, TX?

Hidden Gems

Goodnight Peak is a side trail that shoots off of the CCC Trail and takes you to a ridge that is part of the canyon rim. The overlook from the top of the trail is stunning, giving you about 270-degree views of cliffs, valleys, Timber Mesa, Prairie Dog Town, and more.

One of the most dramatic summits in Palo Duro Canyon, Capitol Mesa consists of brightly colored formations, rocky pinnacles, and white caprock boulders at strange angles. The mesa gives the appearance of land that has been washed by a giant flood. At the peak of the mesa, is the Lighthouse formation. This formation, known as a “hoodoo,” has the appearance of a lighthouse guiding ships to safe harbor. There is a trail that takes you to the lighthouse formation that is about three miles and is rated easy.

Cadillac Ranch, about 45 minutes from Palo Duro Canyon, is an iconic roadside monument along Route 66 in Amarillo. It was constructed by a group of hippies who called themselves the Ant Farm. The display began when Stanley Marsh subsidized an art project designed to baffle locals. Ten Cadillacs were buried, nose-down, in the field. People would stop, remove souvenirs from the cars, and, eventually, began to cover them with graffiti. You can see Cadillac ranch at 13651 I-40 Frontage Road in Amarillo.

Combine City began as a joke between a farmer and his wife. He was lamenting about what he could do with an old, broken-down combine and she commented that maybe he should just bury it. The idea took root, literally, and the farmer decided to “plant” combine harvesters on his two acres of land, creating Combine City. The combines are planted nose down with blades up, similar to the Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo. However, the combines are protected from graffiti artists by barbed wire. Combine City is located at FM 1151, Claude Highway, and Whitaker Road, about half an hour from Palo Duro Canyon.

Drive the Palo Duro Canyon Loop which offers you amazing views of the area. Although the ride itself takes about an hour, plan on taking longer since you will want to stop and take photos of the valleys, peaks, and other views you will see along the way.

What are the recommended places to eat and drink in Palo Duro Canyon, TX?

Recommended Local Food & Drinks

Bar Z Winery claims that they “gently herd Texas grapes into a bottle.” Their handcrafted, award-winning wines are full-flavor, created from grapes grown in the Texas High Plains. The winery does not grow its own grapes but takes those grown in the area to create unique wines. They are located at the corner of Hunsley Road and FM-1541.

Located at 408 23rd Street in Canyon, Pepito’s Mexican Restaurante’s menu displays what Mexican food is about, a blending of rich culinary heritages from around the world. Using fresh ingredients, Pepito’s serves some of the best authentic Mexican food in the area. Serving tacos, quesadillas, cheese, and vegetables; as well as freshly made guacamole, created with avocado, lime, cilantro and crushed onion.

Owned and operated by Chef Isaias Sanchez, El Patio Mexican Restaurant is a local favorite, especially for their Taco Tuesday when you can enjoy their famous tacos for just one dollar each. Their menu is filled with unique, fresh Mexican fare that is sure to please the entire family. They are located at 1410 US Route 60 in Canyon.

The King and I, located at 104 15th Street in Canyon, serves authentic Lao and Thai cuisine as well as the freshest, artistically crafted sushi in the area. The menu includes items like steamed or fried dumplings, chicken satay, fresh rolls, Tom Yum soup, and more.

Feldman’s Wrong Way Diner offers comfort food in a homestyle diner atmosphere. The menu includes chicken fried steak, sirloin beef tips, a popcorn chicken bowl, loaded baked potato soup, and Frito pie. Be sure to try house-made desserts like peach cobbler and pecan pie. There is a bar serving beer, wine, and cocktails. Specialty cocktails include the Bloody Mary, Mimosa, and Patron Margarita. Find the diner at 2100 North 2nd Avenue.

Fat Boy’s BBQ, located at 104 23rd Street, is a casual barbecue restaurant serving brisket, ribs, hot links, and more. They offer daily specials, and you can purchase any barbecue item by the pound. In addition to traditional barbecue, they also offer Frito Pie and baked potato. They also have freshly made desserts, including peach or cherry cobbler.

Where to visit in order to explore art and culture in Palo Duro Canyon, TX?

Art & Culture Places

The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum offers exhibits from dinosaurs to conquistadors. You can step back into the Old West by visiting Pioneer Town and view one of the largest Southwestern art exhibits in the country. There are exhibits about the petroleum industry and much more. The museum is located at 2503 4th Avenue in Canyon.

How to get around in Palo Duro Canyon, TX?


The closest airport to Palo Duro Canyon, Texas, is Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport, about 40 minutes from the canyon. You will need to rent a car to get to the canyon from the airport.

* The displayed nightly rate may be estimated based on a future travel date. Narrow down your search with checkin and checkout dates to see the exact price.

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Palo Duro - Lighthouse Cabin tour

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Here at VacationHomeRents, you can easily find and compare the best vacation apartments, cabins, house boats, beach houses, and RV deals. By a simple click, we help you search among millions of listings across the top sites like Airbnb, Vrbo, and more.

Airbnb Palo Duro Canyon, TXVrbo Palo Duro Canyon, Palo Duro Canyon, TXOutdoorsy Palo Duro Canyon, TX

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Which Price Range Is Most Typical in Palo Duro Canyon, TX Area?

Vacation House & Condo Rental Price Information in Palo Duro Canyon, TX

The graph shows the percentages of vacation homes in each price bucket. Palo Duro Canyon has the largest percentage (25.45%) of homes in $100 - $150 price range.

Where Should We Visit in Palo Duro Canyon, TX Area?

Bring Your Loved Pets to Below Suggested Places in Palo Duro Canyon, TX

Here we list the must-visit places in Palo Duro Canyon, TX:

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When I called the reservations line to ask about cabin availability at Palo Duro Canyon, the lady on the other end of the line chuckled a bit.  She told me that they are often booked months in advance, and finding something last minute wasn’t guaranteed.  We were lucky and got a last-minute cancelation.

The problem lies with supply and demand.  There are only three rim cabins at Palo Duro Canyon, and it is a very popular destination!  Located in the Panhandle of Texas very near the city of Amarillo, Palo Duro Canyon is second in size only to the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

I have a confession.  I’ve never felt as conflicted as I do writing this post.  I loved our stay, but we were lucky to get the cabin.  What if I publicize how great they are and can’t find an opening in the future?  I definitely plan to go back.

The rim cabins were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930’s out of stone quarried nearby.  The CCC workers, young men, and veterans of WWI unable to find work in the height of the Depression, came to this area in the middle of the Dust Bowl.  They created what would become Palo Duro Canyon State Park.  They built the road into the canyon, six cabins total, and other improvements.  Knowing how cold the winter nights and how hot the summer days are in the Panhandle, I have immense respect for these men and appreciation for what they achieved.

While making phone reservations, I wasn’t able to pick our particular cabin – just the pricing category.  It was still a surprise when we arrived at the Ranger Station.  Drumroll… we were staying in the Goodnight Cabin!

goodnight cabin palo duro canyon state park

Knowing the age of the Goodnight Cabin, I was surprised by what I found when I got there.  The hard work and fine craftsmanship of the CCC were very evident.  Although 80 years old, the cabin was very sturdy.  You could tell the cabin had recently been refurbished, but that original features had been preserved.  The original hand-carved ceiling beams were exposed and gave the cabin a beautiful rustic charm. It was cozy, but it was very clean and the linens were quality.  The children loved the full-sized bunk beds!

goodnight cabin palo duro canyon state park texas

You may remember we were at the Grand Canyon only three weeks earlier, so it was interesting to compare the lodging to Palo Duro.   The cost nightly was $110.  Similar accommodations would be FAR more expensive at the Grand Canyon – and they would likely be booked years and years in advance.

While Palo Duro doesn’t have the food facilities (especially in the evening) that the Grand Canyon has,  we were able to get a great burger at the Trading Post in the park for lunch and we brought a cooler with our dinner.  The cabin included a microwave and a minifridge.   If the temperatures had been a little warmer the picnic table on the back porch would have been a fantastic place to eat and take in the view.

There was also a fireplace inside and a grill outside, but they were off limits because of a fire ban.  It is my understanding that this fire ban is very common.  While you can call ahead and see if the ban is still in effect, you shouldn’t bank on being able to use the fireplace and grill.

We had a clear view of the sunset from our porch.  The stars were amazing over the canyon at night!  If your children are city kids, like ours, they will probably be surprised by how many stars are actually visible.  The sunrise was a bit obstructed, but I took a couple minutes to walk past the cabins to watch it on the morning we were there.  Very worth it!

palo duro canyon state park lighthouse cabin texas

Of course like every stay, there were a few drawbacks to the experience.  The heater, while effective, was a wall unit and very loud.  I would assume it would be the same in the summer when it was attempting to cool the cabin in the hot Texas sun.  Like I mentioned, the evenings were cold and a fire in the fireplace would have been nice – but precluded by the fire ban, which also did not allow us to use the grill.  There were no doors separating the bedrooms.  While not a problem for us, this could be a disadvantage if you aren’t as close to your family as we are.  Also, there are only four occupants allowed, so it is not an option for you if you have a larger family than that.  However, the cons were nothing near dealbreakers for us, and we will return to the canyon for another stay in the cabins.

For more on Palo Duro Canyon State Park, see the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

To check availability or reserve a Palo Duro Cabin (rim or limited use) contact the Texas Parks Office at (512) 389-8900.

To find out more about the history of the CCC and their work in Texas Parks, visit the site The Looks of Nature.

palo duro canyon texas state park
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