5 routes · Mountain Biking · Hiking · Trail Running
Palo Duro Canyon: Intermediate 8-Mile Trail Run
An intermediate 8-mile trail run highlighting some of the best trails in Palo Duro Canyon.
Trail Running Moderate
- 13 km
- 162 m
- 162 m
- 1-2 hrs
- Low Point
- 858 m
- High Point
- 893 m
Chinaberry Day Use Area is the preferred place to begin this route since it has potable water, restrooms, and nearby picnic benches. There are also multiple campgrounds, both developed and primitive, scattered throughout the park. A fee schedule, including entrance fees can be viewed here.
This loop is the most rewarding when run clockwise, warming up with a steady creekside run on Rojo Grande Trail, then circling back on Juniper Cliffside Trail. From there, you will pass through the Lighthouse Trailhead then meander around Capitol Peak northern slope before reaching a junction with GSL Trail (sometimes referenced as Givens/Spice/Lowry). From there, it is relatively straightforward as you make your way back to the trailhead and along stunning red rock mesas.
If your legs are feeling up for it, consider a side trip up the Lighthouse Trail, then climb your way up to the top for some of the most spectacular views in the park.
If you're looking for even more miles, consider tacking on the Sunflower Trail, or even Little Fox Canyon. Both are relatively flat as they wind their way through sandy washes and along grassy, brush-filled plains.
Note: Palo Duro Canyon can frequently reach over 100 degrees during the summer months and even into the early fall. There is no potable water on the trail, so plan an early start to your day and be sure to pack plenty of water in your hydration vest. In the summer, a handheld bottle will not suffice.
Best time to visit
Guidebooks in this area
17 routes · Hiking · Trail Running