FATMAP by Strava

Lighthouse Trail

A stunning hike through red rock canyons bound for Lighthouse Peak.

Hiking Moderate

9.3 km
158 m
158 m
2-3 hrs
Low Point
866 m
High Point
957 m
Lighthouse Trail Map

Whether you are simply passing through or making Palo Duro the destination of your travels, the Lighthouse Trail is the must-do hike in the canyon. Vibrant red rock formations and sandy washes lead the way to a commanding view from just below the iconic "lighthouse" formation, Castle Peak visible just across the wash.


The trailhead for Lighthouse Trail is one of the largest in the park. Mountain bikers, hikers, and trail runners frequent the lot, and equestrian users may be found from time to time. There are no dedicated restrooms or potable water nearby, but you can find both at Chinaberry Day Use Area.

Lighthouse Trail is typically wide enough for a small 4x4 or 4-wheeler, though the further you get, the narrower the trail becomes. Be mindful at all times of other trail users, specifically mountain bikers who frequent the area. Expect a mixture of hardpacked clay and sandy washes, and little chance of water, unless it has rained recently.

This mapped route ends at the base of Lighthouse Peak, though there are several social trails that lead their way onto a sandstone mesa just below the formation. Making your way up it is common, but be especially mindful of any signs or notices about current trail conditions. The views from the mesa are incredible, but do require some minor scrambles to get up to them.



Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

all year round


  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Family friendly

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area