The Second-Largest Canyon in the United States
In Texas, United States
Size:  (not chosen)
How Geocaching Works
Use of geocaching.com services is subject to the terms and conditions in our disclaimer
Come visit the second-largest canyon in the United States right here in the Texas Panhandle. Plan to stay a while because the views are just breathtaking!
Palo Duro Canyon Rim
Palo Duro Canyon Mesa
Palo Duro Canyon Up Close
The BiT Kids Enjoying the Sights at Palo Duro Canyon
Palo Duro Canyon is the second-largest canyon in United States. It is 120 miles long and a maximum of 20 miles wide. At some points it is almost 800 feet deep. The largest canyon, the Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and 6,000 feet deep. The name Palo Duro means "hardwood" and refers to the hardwood shrubs and trees found in the canyon. Palo Duro Canyon is about 90 million years old and carved into the eastern Caprock Escarpment of the High Plains by the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River during the Pleistocene Epoch. The steep sides of Palo Duro Canyon consist of bright, banded layers of orange, red, brown, yellow, grey, maroon, and white rocks that represent four different geologic periods that span 240 million years. These periods include the Pliocene, Miocene, Triassic, and Permian.
The top formation or the youngest in geological time is the Ogallala Formation from the early Pliocene to the late Miocene Periods. This comprises the cliffs and ledges at the very top of the canyon which are made of sandstone, siltstone, and eroded conglomerate. The next is the Trujillo Formation. It is made of coarse sandstone that forms the canyon ledges. It was formed in the Triassic Period and is much is harder than the underlying Tecovas Formation. The Tecovas Formation contains the multi-colored layers consists of shale, siltstone, and sandstone. During deposition, there were varying oxidizing conditions and wet-dry cycles that are typical in stream and swamp environments that helped produce these varying colored layers. The final and oldest is the Quartermaster Formation. It is of the Permian age and comprises the red, lower slopes of the canyon. This was deposited in a shallow marine environment that alternated with dry tidal flats. The canyon has some dramatic geological features including the steep mesa and the multi-colored layers walls similar to the Grand Canyon. It has some spectacular caves and hoodoos.
Native Americans have inhabited the canyon since Paleoindian period, about 12,000 years ago. The earliest were the Clovis and Folsom peoples that utilized the prehistoric flora and mega fauna (mammoths and giant bison). Later in time, the Apaches, Comanches, and Kiowas utilized the canyon. The first Europeans to the canyon may have been members of the Coronado expedition. They are reported to have been in the area in the late spring to early summer of 1541. The canyon area was occupied at that time by bands of pre-horse-culture Apache Indians. Like there predecessors they utilized the local flora and fauna and who depended heavily on bison. The Plains Indians, in the eighteenth century, acquired horses and the canyon became a major camping and hunting ground of the Comanches and Kiowas.
To claim a find, please email me the answers to these questions below. Also you will need to upload a picture of yourself displaying your GPSr at the location in Question 1 and another dramatic geological feature in the canyon. On your second photograph, try to get something that is different than anything the previous seekers have photographed.
Question 1: What is a hoodoo? The park has a famous one, please seek out this and take a picture of yourself displaying your GPSr with this hoodoo in the background. Note, round trip is 5.75 miles and it is advised that you take 2 quarts of water per person and pack out what you pack in.
Question 2: What is the elevation of the canyon rim?
Question 3: When you enter the canyon, what is the amount of elevation change from the rim to the first water crossing?
Question 4: What is the name of the geological process that formed this canyon?
As of the date of approval there is $4 perday, per person 13 and older,
staying or day use fee for the Palo Duro Canyon State Park.
Click To Rate This Cache
Effective 05.16.07, all find logs MUST have accompanying pictures or they will be deleted.
This is a result of “armchair/desktop” EarthCaching attempts.
(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 1/2/2016 4:25:19 PM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) (12:25 AM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum