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Llano Estacado Region Drives

Llano Estacado Region: Palo Duro Canyon Tour

Take the scenic route to Palo Duro Canyon.

cadillac ranchStart your morning at the now historic Cadillac Ranch, just west of Amarillo. These are several upended Cadillacs which have been half-buried in the dirt and are spray painted (you are encouraged to add some color yourself, if you so desire).

Then head east on I-40 till you get to the exit which will take you on  Amarillo 3rd Ave/Texas 287 and go southeast Claude, TXthrough Washburn, Claude, Goodnight, and Clarendon.

At Clarendon, turn south (right) onto Texas 70. Texas 70 will come to a T in the road. Take a left (going west) onto 70/256.

Goodnight, TXEventually, 70 and 256 will split. Stay on 256, which will curl around the southern edge of Palo Duro Canyon.

clarendon, txTexas 256 will merge with Texas 86. Stay to the right and start heading northwest and pass through the town of Silverton where 256 will end and now continue west on Texas 86/207.

Texas 207 will split from 86. Take a right to head north on 207.

palo duro canyon 207 will eventually dip down into the southern end of Palo Duro Canyon and continue on up to the eastern rim.  Then head back up to the town of Claude.

At Claude, turn left (due west) on Farm-to-Market Road 1151. Stay on 1151 all the way to  Farm-to-Market Road 1541, which then turns left (south) and merges with Amarillo South Washington Street . Along the way, you will pass Lake Tanglewood.

Lake TanglewoodStay on 1151/S. Washington  till you get to 217/Palo Duro Drive, which takes you all the way to the entrance of Palo Duro State Park.

There is an entrance fee for the Park, but once you’re in, you’ll plunge down the canyon on State Park Road 5 through a series of switchbacks with large drop-offs till you get to the bottom of the canyon.

In monsoon season, the canyon is prone to flash-floods, so there are a number of dips in the road to accommodate the flood water. Be mindful so that you don’t bottom out. But also consider that some of them might have water in them still!

palo duro canyon state parkState Park Road 5 goes all the way to the end of the canyon, then loops back around to begin your trip back up the canyon. There are a number of campsites, picnic sites, and trailheads with hikers and bikers, so watch your speed and enjoy the views.

Continue back to the top of the canyon, out on 217/Palo Duro Drive all the way to US 27 and head north for the most direct route back to Amarillo.