A canyon in my backyard

Not quite. But close. A 60-minute plane ride from Dallas, Palo Duro Canyon State Park near Amarillo, Texas, seemed like the perfect place to sate that craving for wide open spaces and geological layer cakes. I took this trip in 2007. Click any photo to enlarge.

Palo Duro Canyon - view from the visitor center overlook

I love the rough-hewn exterior of the visitor center.

Visitor center infographic. The chairs in this photo face the picture window in the next.

Looking out the visitor center picture window.

Another picture window.

Jigsaw puzzle poster in the visitor center restroom. Nice touch!

I hiked the Amphitheater Trail. I think I took this picture more for the yellow flowers than anything else.

Blossoms and boot marks

Pioneer Amphitheater, where Texas, the outdoor musical drama, runs Tuesday through Sunday beginning in June and ending in August. I took this trip in October, so no drama. But I was lucky enough to attend a stargazing party in this amphitheater, telescopes and all. As you can imagine, the night sky was amazing.

On the Lighthouse Trail

Capitol Peak as seen from the Lighthouse Trail. Infographic in next picture.

Capitol Peak infographic

Yes, I'd like a big slice of that layer cake, please. It took a mere 230 million years to bake.

More strata, and rugged vegetation that takes root, holds on and stays green.

I'm seeing faces in these rocks. Are you?

So long, Palo Duro. Your open skies, desert blooms and layer cakes were an unforgettable treat. I hope to come back for seconds.

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