Best Date in West Texas: Sunset and Red Rocks

By Nicole Casperson

Just two hours north of Lubbock’s flat and dusty landscape, majestic red rocks crisscrossed by erosion lines rise against the Texas sky.

This is the “Grand Canyon of Texas,” the second largest canyon in North America. Formed by the Red River, Palo Duro Canyon opened as a state park on July 4, 1934.

Image provided by Noel Young.

Early Spanish explorers are believed to have discovered the area and named it “Palo Duro,” Spanish for “hard wood,” according to the park’s website. The canyon is 120 miles long, 20 miles wide and has an elevation of 3,500 feet above sea level

For some, Palo Duro Canyon is a place to escape the stresses of work, school and life.

FOX 34 News television reporter Nina DeSarro said she visits the canyon twice a month.

“It’s the most relaxing, calming and quieting place I’ve found for me, for sure, my stress reliever,” she said. 

With 13 different hiking trails ranked as easy, moderate and difficult, Palo Duro Canyon offers a sightseeing experience for everyone. The park’s most popular trail leads to the iconic Lighthouse rock formation.

Texas Tech electronic media and communications major Noel Young described the park as a mini-getaway.

“We went on the Lighthouse Trail and the experience was amazing,” he said. “The trail seemed pretty narrow and straightforward, but it looked like it rained so it made the red dirt darker, which made it prettier.”

Young said the park is also a great place to go on a date.

“When we got to the very top, it was beautiful to look over the canyon,” he said. “It was really romantic as well, watching the sunset and how the canyon had a golden color to it.”

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Image provided by Cara Aric.

Accounting major Cara Aric explored the park and said she had the most fun seeing all of the native Texas nature.

“I saw lizards and other little animals,” she said. “I got to take really artsy pictures of bugs and flowers.”

Aric said she also uses this park as a way to leave the stresses of life behind and immerse herself in the beauty of nature.

“It’s crazy how in just two hours you can be in this whole new setting, surrounded by elevation and natural beauty, which is something we don’t have in Lubbock,” Aric said.

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