Hike to the Lighthouse in Palo Duro Canyon

Texas Lighthouse Trailhead

Added by Korey Taylor

Park entrance fee: $5/person (free for children under 12). You have year-round hiking, it's dog-friendly and incredibly unique geological formations.

Palo Duro Canyon is considered the Grand Canyon of Texas and the Lighthouse is one of the most unique geological formations found there. In order to reach it you must enter the Palo Duro Canyon State Park and drive down Park Road 5 until you reach the Lighthouse Trailhead parking lot on the right. The trailhead has two paths, one for Capital Peak and one for the Lighthouse, but both will lead you to the same point at the base of Capital Peak. The trail up to that point is relatively flat, but once you wrap around Capital Peak you begin to gain some elevation. From here you have 2.5 miles until you reach Lighthouse Rock. As you approach the end of the trail there is a bench that offers a great spot to photograph the entire formation.

There are several ways to actually climb onto the base of the Lighthouse- take the path that appeals to you most. Once you make it you'll find a large rock slab to walk around on. For the more advanced hiker there is a second rock slab you can climb up on that offers spectacular views of the canyon, but the path leading up there is a bit more dangerous. Please use cation and avoid if wet!

This can be a touristy hike, especially mid day and around sunset. If you want uninterrupted views I suggest going as early as possible to beat the crowds (and the heat). Accordingly, if you're doing this hike in the summer be prepared to haul a lot of water. Although this is a relatively short hike the temperature can reach 100 degrees in the summer, so being prepared is important. No matter what time of year though, this is a great hike that offers a unique Texas landscape and some fun photo-ops along the way.

Pack List

  • Water (at least a gallon in the summer)
  • Snacks
  • Camera
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Activities:

Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Year Round

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

5.4 Miles

Elev. Gain:

940 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Dog Friendly
Food Nearby
Scenic
Wildlife

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How to Get There

4 months ago

Easy hike with great views

This hike is mostly gentle and easy with the last bit being fairly steep and confusing getting up to the rock formation. The end is mostly scrambling which made my less sure-footed hiking partner a little nervous, but at the top we met a couple in their 60s so it's not impossible.

4 months ago

5 months ago

A lot of people, but definitely worth braving the crowd!

This trail was beautiful! I was surprised by the amount of people who seemed slightly unprepared. Wear good hiking shoes, and bring water. This seems obvious, but the amount of people I saw without water and wearing sandals was surprising. This would also be a fun spot to MTN bike, beautiful, soft red dirt that would look beautiful on your tires! Cheers.

5 months ago

6 months ago

Very pretty hike, but don't underestimate the heat.

We just did this hike over Memorial Day weekend with our 4 y.o. son and my 68 y.o. mother. It is a very busy trail with lots of hikers and hikers with dogs. And since it is multi-use, there are also many MTB riders. We didn't get as early of a start as we would have liked and we suffered the heat in the afternoon (our pace was very slow due to uncooperative toddler). The top slab by the Lighthouse formation gives incredible views. As previously noted, please make sure you have plenty of water. We ran into a couple of hikers experiencing heat exhaustion and had to be taken out by 4x4 by the park rangers.

6 months ago

over 1 year ago

The Lighthouse trail is a great day trip if you live in the surrounding area (lubbock, Canyon, Amarillo). It's a fun and moderate hike where you can expect to climb up some sandy boulders for the best views. It's fun if it's not too hot, I would avoid trying this hike in the middle of the summer heat, other seasons, its absolutely beautiful.

over 1 year ago

Added by Korey Taylor

The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.

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