Camping With Kids at Palo Duro State Park Texas

palo duro canyon in texas

Palo Duro State Park in Texas oversees the Palo Duro Canyon, a western, rustic gorge in the northwestern panhandle of Texas and the 2nd largest canyon in the United States.

The folk around here call it the Grand Canyon of Texas.

And a canyon it is too.

That’s why you’ll want to know a few things about camping with kids if you travel to Palo Duro State Park Texas for a family getaway.

Here’s what you need to understand, and be prepared to do, if you plan on camping with children here in the Grand Canyon of The Lone Star State.

Know about the Canyon Temperatures

Texas is a southern state, and winter temperatures are not bad relatively.  However, it can get down to the teens even in this canyon in the south.

If your family camping vacation is during the winter months, you’ll want to have sleeping bags for the kids that are warm enough to tolerate temperatures as low as the teens or so.

It’s the heat of the summer months, though, that surprise some parents and which parents should be prepared for.

A canyon acts as a cauldron.  The hot temperatures of Texas settle in that basin with no place to go, and temperatures can be extreme during the summer months when the area is having a hot spell to begin with.

My family was just there for a weekend family getaway this past weekend.  The temperature on the rim was over 100 degrees.  The temperature down on the floor was 115 – 120 degrees!

Palo Duro State Park Texas Temperature

A view of the temperature at Palo Duro State Park Texas during our weekend family getaway last week

If you’re going camping in Texas with kids during the summer, be prepared for very hot weather.  If you’re going camping at Palo Duro Canyon State Park, be overly prepared and cautious of any high temperatures that could lead to dehydration, illness, or risk.

Take sunscreen, caps, and plenty of water.  Have shelter and protection.  Be aware and alert to temperatures that get too hot for the kids at play, and direct them to a different activity, or take a short drive up to Amarillo TX to do something there and get out of the heat.

Being on watch makes a difference.  Being cautious makes all the difference in the world.

Be Aware of Area Weather and Flash Flooding in the Gorge

This is a beautiful area to go camping in, and the weather will generally comply with your plans to have a good time, especially since Texas is generally dry over the summer months.  Chances are you won’t get rained out if you travel here to get away from it all and to let your children have a little fun with all the great cowboy and cowgirl things to do here.

But if it DOES rain, use a watchful eye and be ready to take the children to higher ground if you’re camping on the canyon basin and you see water accumulating on the ground.

With plenty of high terrain for downward momentum, heavy rains can collect in the basin causing flash flooding.

Palo Duro State Park Texas Flood Guage Sign

Always keep an eye on nature when camping with children in a canyon or valley.

Most chances are you’ll never encounter a problem at all, but whenever there is nature or wildlife involved, it always pays to be aware of your environment.

Let the Kids Enjoy the History but Make Sure They Also Respect the Excavations Currently In Progress.

Indians lived here.  Cowboys rode here.  Calvary fought here.

This area is full of the stuff Cowboy movies are made of, and it’s no wonder archeologists today crave to know just exactly who WAS here and exactly WHAT they did.

While the park lands are open via trails and in open fields and valleys for exploration such as  hiking, biking, and horseback riding, you might also be observant enough to notice the lights of archeology digs going on deep inside some of the caves and crevices.

history of palo duro canyon in texas

We just happened to notice a big light for an archeology dig inside this cave as we drove through the canyon last weekend. Notice the walkway that goes right up to the cave door!


Camping with kids in Texas is always a taste of nature and history.  Camping at Palo Duro Canyon State Park brings both nature and history right to the front door of your family tent or RV.

Your entire family can see history being discovered in Palo Duro Canyon in Texas, but help the kids be respectful of what’s going on there now.

While camping here can be a fun getaway for a family, it is also family camping in an environment that takes understanding and awareness on the part of parents.

Be informed.  Be aware.  Be a parent.

Then just go have some fun and enjoy the sights.

PS, Here’s a list of the best things to do in Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Texas.  Go to that article now or check our other related posts below.

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