We've all heard about Palo Duro Canyon, but did you know there are numerous additional canyons in Texas? That's right—seven times. Can anyone explain why there are so many canyons in such a small state? The answer has to do with water, wind, and gravity.
Texas is known as the "Lone Star State" because it has only six states borders and no rivers or bodies of water within its boundaries. This means that Texas is very land-rich and water-poor. Years ago, when Texas was part of Mexico, there were more canyons here, but now they're all used up. Most of them go completely unused because there's no way to access them except by hiking or riding horses across their floors.
There are two types of canyons: those formed by streams or rivers and those that aren't. In places like Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, where there is almost no surface water, most of the canyons were created by rivers that flowed into the ocean hundreds of years ago. As these rivers eroded away at the rock face, they left beautiful holes called arroyos. Over time, the winds and rain came together to form other caves and alcoves. What remains today of these ancient rivers can be seen throughout the Southwest.
Palo Duro Canyon is a canyon system of the Caprock Escarpment in the Texas Panhandle near Amarillo, Texas. It is the second longest canyon in the United States, measuring around 60 miles (97 kilometers) in length and 6 miles in width on average (9.7 km)...
The canyon was formed by the Palo Duro River which flows out of southwestern New Mexico into western Potter County, near Lakin. The river's source is located within Govean Park in Los Alamos, where it flows through a tunnel under the city streets before reaching open country again.
During its course through Texas, the river passes through several canyons that have been carved out by it over time: first the Little Palo Duro Canyon, then the Main Canyon. At the end of the Main Canyon, the river makes a sharp turn to the south and enters the much larger Palo Duro Canyon. This entire section of the river is within the boundaries of the Caprock Escarpment, a series of limestone cliffs that range in height from a few hundred feet to nearly 3,000 feet (90-900 m).
The canyon itself is famous for its large deposits of oil and natural gas. In fact, most of the current activity in the area of northwestern Potter County has something to do with drilling for oil and natural gas. There are currently about 250 active wells in the immediate vicinity of the canyon.
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Palo Duro Canyon is the most stunning and scenic landscape feature in the Texas Panhandle, and it is only 25 miles from downtown Amarillo and 14 miles from Canyon's main roadway. It was produced by the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River and the West Texas wind over millions of years. The river cut through a thick sequence of limestone and dolomite rock that was deposited during an era of sea water covering much of western North America. When the water receded, it left a valley full of creeks and small rivers which then carried sand and gravel to form the great plains.
The canyon itself is approximately 20 miles long and varies in width from 100 yards to 5 miles. Its walls typically rise 800 feet above the river level. The beauty of the canyon is breathtaking, with its towering cliffs and wide open spaces surrounded by prairie grasslands. There are several marked hiking trails within the park where you can explore the canyon walled by more than 2,000 years old ponderosa pines. You can also drive up the canyon floor past ancient petroglyphs (carved images done in stone) dating back thousands of years.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park is available for camping, fishing, hunting, birdwatching, horseback riding, and other activities. There are no services or amenities within the park except for restrooms at the entrance gate.
This geological collection is known as "Texas Canyon" (called after early immigrants in the region) and is millions of years old, slowly changing into its current condition due to erosion from our scarce rain. The Amerind Foundation and Triangle T Guest Ranch are located in the vicinity.
Geographically, Texas Canyon is a canyon, carved out by the San Antonio River, that extends for more than 10 miles between central Texas and southern New Mexico. The upper portion of the canyon is within Culberson County, Texas, and the lower portion lies within Chaves County, New Mexico. The border between the two states follows the path of the river through the canyon.
The Amerind Foundation is an Indian settlement located on tribal land near St. Elmo, Texas. The area was originally part of the great Apache reservation, but was invaded by European settlers and annexed by Mexico. In 1848, the Mexican government granted land rights to several families who were descendants of Spanish colonists who had settled in South Texas. The families formed the Amerind Corporation, which was given permission to settle in the area by the Mexican government.
They built their homes near the banks of the San Antonio River, which at the time was used by Native Americans as a highway between Central America and Mexico. The first house was built by Moses Austin, father of the future president Benjamin Austin, who came to live with his family in this new town.