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Old 01-15-2012, 11:46 AM   #1
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Thumbs up Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas

Just finished an awesome multi-night camping trip last month to Palo Duro Canyon S.P, near Amarillo, TX. DW booked the reservations months ago for the weekend before Christmas and we were psyched that meteorologists were calling for snow during our trip (we don’t get much snow in San Antonio). We’ve heard about Palo Duro for several years since moving to San Antonio, and finally having our 32BHDS inspired us to make the 500 mile, one way journey (a new camping record for us).

Definitely worth the effort and 20 hours of round-trip driving. Second largest canyon in the U.S. and nicknamed “the Grand Canyon of Texas.” I’ve read reviews of Palo Duro by “WestTXmed” on JOF, as well as reviews on other RV forums. We stayed in the Mesquite camping area of PD state park, the farthest (8 miles) into the park, which we think had the best “classic” southwestern landscape, (and don’t slap me, but it also has pretty strong cell signal versus the other camping areas that did not). Good standard TV antenna reception, too. All camping areas are on the canyon floor, so you have to navigate a 9% grade just past the park entrance to get to the bottom. The F250 6.4 handled our TT on this grade without any problems, (including the yahoos who parked their car in the middle of the two lane road half-way up the grade for an out-of-car photo op on the day we were climbing out).

We didn’t get snow (about 5 miles too far south from the snow band), but did receive about 24hrs of off-on rain, making for a bit of a red mud mess and transient closure of the 5 low water crossings one must traverse to get to the deepest Mesquite camping area. We dropped to about 26° and had 30-40mph winds on one night. Stayed nice and cozy INSIDE, opting not to use our outdoor kitchen, (don’t tell our yankee relatives that a decade in Texas has made us a little soft toward “cold” temperatures :hihi. No internal plumbing issues thanks to the furnace and enclosed underbelly, but I might be investing in one of those water supply hoses with internalized heat tape to prevent supply line freezing, (I carry two 25’ fresh water hoses, so would simply exchange out the frozen line in the morning to regain water supply until temps rose by mid-day).

Great park; wonderful scenery; lots of wildlife; great hiking and mountain biking trails. Oh yeah, and it being Texas, there are horse riding trails and camping sites that accommodate horses. Well worth the drive or to keep in mind if you're using Interstate 40.
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Old 01-15-2012, 03:22 PM   #2
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Palo Duro Canyon SP is a fantastic place to hike and to experience a taste of the old west.

For those few who do not know the wonderfulness of Texas, there is a musical show appropriately named "Texas" at the outdoor theater in Palo Duro Canyon state park. It is a professional, exciting production. Here's a link: Texas
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Old 01-15-2012, 04:34 PM   #3
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Glad you enjoyed Palo Duro, higgywool. WestTXmed did write up a good description of it as did you. The last time I was there, we stayed at Mesquite, I believe in the same exact spot you stayed in. Also spent a few nights at Hackberry campground. It has more trees and also a lot more sites. The State is spending some big bucks on a few projects there this winter and fall so it will only get better. I plan to get back up there in April. Lots of hiking trails that the grandkids keep me in shape keeping up with them.
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Old 01-15-2012, 11:43 PM   #4
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dg1971,

I wish we were closer to PD because I would definitely love to explore it a lot more. The new group pavilion (reportedly $2 mil) is supposed to be completed in the next month or two: impressive stone/glass/steel structure with lots of windows and an industrial kitchen to support events.

I like it anytime we can see old CCC camps, buildings, small dams, roads, etc. Neat collection of cabins available on the rim.

Sorry we missed the "Texas" show and dinner----maybe next time we'll consider a summer trip when it's in production.

Happy Trails!
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Old 01-21-2012, 08:14 PM   #5
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Yep, I've stayed in that spot as well. We used to own a 32BHDS too! We have a 303RKS now. Erin was telling me just this morning that she really wanted to go to PDSP and I really want to go too. In fact, we have a routine for PD: Of course we get there, set up, and as a tradition- go over to Canyon and eat supper at Feldman's, get some food for the TT at United across the street, and head back. A lot of those spots in the Mesquite loop have what my 2 children call "mountains" behind them. These are the small to medium-sized red mounds, and they LOVE to climb them and scoot down them.

On July 4th back in 2010, we were staying there and it just rained constantly. The river crossings were starting to show 2-3 feet at #'s 3-5. I decided to pack it up and head back to Crosbyton were we live and by the time we left, it was really flooding. Crossings 4-5 were at 7 feet when we got back to the house (I called the front office at PD). Of course, the park began to close because of this. So yes, it will ABSOLUTELY flood there- quickly.

Man, now I really want to go. Thank goodness I'm "just down the road" from that awesome gem.
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Old 01-21-2012, 08:30 PM   #6
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