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Hike to This Lighthouse-Shaped Rock For Breathtaking Views

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The vistas and panoramic views that can be had at Palo Duro Canyon dull all others by comparison. It’s one of the most scenic spots in all of Texas, second only to the Grand Canyon in size. Once you begin to hike farther into it, your camera finger won’t be able to capture the beauty quickly enough. But did you know there was an even more awe-inspiring sight in the park that rivals much of what we share on social media today? A hike on Palo Duro’s Lighthouse Trail won’t take you to the seashore, but it will take you to a rock formation so-named for its towering presence, which is absolutely breathtaking.

Note that during the summer, temperatures on the canyon bottom can often climb into the triple digits, which can cause the hike to turn dangerous. Be mindful of the heat and bring plenty of water. The best time for attempting this hike is the fall or spring.

Hike to This Lighthouse-Shaped Rock For Breathtaking Views

Photo: Flickr/Todd Shoemake

Coming in at a grand total of 5.7 miles, the Lighthouse Trail hike at Palo Duro Canyon is one of its most popular. It’s considered reasonably easy on the scale of skill-level required. Children and pets are safe to make the trek, but it’s advised that the final leg of it has some difficult patches. As a Texan, you’ll understand the value in commencing this hike earlier in the day, when temperatures are moderate. Likewise, you can take the ascent in the late afternoon, which results in the most amazing view of the setting sun behind the Lighthouse itself! Either way, it’s unforgettable.

Hike to This Lighthouse-Shaped Rock For Breathtaking Views

Photo: Flickr/Todd Shoemake

The trail is well marked every tenth of a mile, and along the way, you’ll learn quickly to marvel at the natural beauty of this place. However, much of the trail’s red dirt and rock formations juxtaposed with lush greenery are nothing in comparison to the sight before you at the Lighthouse. The last half of the hike toward the namesake natural rock formation increases slightly in difficulty. However, there are a number of benches along the way to rest your weary feet and catch your breath. The views are unbeaten as you exchange a bit of exertion (on a trail that slopes up approximately 500 feet) for a glimpse of the star of the show. Alternatively, there is a more gradual incline found at a fork in the trail, marked by a single picnic table. Once you make it to the top, the view of the valley from the lighthouse is unparalleled.