3 Day Itinerary for Caprock Canyons + Palo Duro Canyon State Parks [Texas Panhandle]

One of my favorite weekend trips I’ve taken was to the Texas Panhandle. In just a long weekend, my friend and I were able to visit two Texas State Parks, go for two hikes, enjoy two little small towns, have delicious food, experience the plains of Texas as well as the second largest canyon in the country, and enjoy some rest and relaxation. Below you’ll find a 3 Day Itinerary for your time in the Texas Panhandle. Perfect for a long weekend!

Day 1:

  • Take an early flight into Amarillo and pick up your rental car
  • Drive south toward Canyon, Texas and stock up on some snacks and food if you plan to cook
  • Stop at Cadillac Ranch just south of Amarillo where 10 Cadillacs are buried nose down on the side of the road. It’s a quick stop but a sight to see.
  • Drive toward Palo Duro Canyon State Park east of Canyon and check into one of the cabins at Dove’s Rest Resorts. They’re all beautiful, but if you have two people and don’t plan to spend a lot of time inside, check out the Phantom Cabins. They’re beautiful and a good price with beautiful views.
  • Drive into Palo Duro State Park and do the scenic drive in time for sunset
  • Make dinner at your cabin or head into Canyon for dinner

Day 2:

  • Get up early and drive into the park
  • Park at the trailhead to hike the Lighthouse Trail which is about 6 miles
  • Grab lunch at the Palo Duro Trading Post inside park and enjoy a burger and fries after that hike
  • Relax at your cabin or do another shorter hike like the Palo Duro Caves or Juniper Riverside Trail
  • Grab coffee at Journey Coffee or Palace Coffee downtown and check out the shops like Palo Duro Canyon Outfitters, Burrowing Owl Bookstore and the Thompson Giftstore.
  • Enjoy dinner downtown or if you’re visiting in the summer, go to the Texas Outdoor Musical

Day 3:

  • Get up early to drive to Caprock Canyons State Park. Don’t follow your GPS here, but go north and east until you get to 207 South. This drive takes you down into the canyon with beautiful views.
  • Drive the scenic route to the back of the park and keep an eye out for bison
  • If you’re up for a bit of a hike that’s a challenge but not too challenging, park at the North Prong Spur. Follow this to the end and then turn right and do the Lower North Prong Trail and then onto the Lower South Prong Trail. It’s about 6.4 miles. If you’d like something a bit more mild, you can do the Canyon Rim Trail or some portion out and back of the Eagle Point Trail. You can check out the trail maps here.
  • Pack a picnic lunch and eat it along your hike or stop in Quitaque for lunch at the Bison Cafe or the The Coffee Mill & Mercantile
  • You can head back into the park and enjoy another hike and seeing the bison or head home using the GPS
  • If you missed it the night prior, check out the Texas Outdoor Musical or head into Canyon for dinner, or just cook at the cabin and enjoy sunset along the canyon rim.

Day 4:

  • If you have some time prior to your flight, go for one last short hike or drive in Palo Duro Canyon. Otherwise, head to the airport for your flight home!

If you’re interested in other places to stay as well as restaurants and things to do, you can check out that list here.

2 Comments

  1. Caprock Canyon State Park was so pretty! I liked it a lot more than Palo Duro, but I think that had more to do with timing and my mood than the actual parks. Palo seemed pretty but I wasn’t in the right head space haha Anyway, Caprock was amazing!

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