Palo Duro Canyon State Park
This tragically underrated canyon is the second-largest in the United States, but somehow only attracts around 300,000 people per year. By comparison, the Grand Canyon sees five to six million—which is why we actually consider this behemoth to be a better place to be awed by nature. Nicknamed The Grand Canyon of Texas, the formidable destination’s sunken valleys show off a seemingly endless string of green- and sunset-colored terra cotta that deserves its due props. Ready to visit? Day passes and camping access can be secured in advance online.
The Texas Panhandle boasts the second largest canyon in the country. Located a short drive south of Amarillo, Palo Duro Canyon State Park features more than 30 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails, so there’s always something to explore. There are also lots of campsites, and even a few luxury tents, so you can easily spend a few days in the park. Time your trip with the changing leaves, and you’ll see the local cottonwood trees turn bright yellow against the blue skies and red rocks.
When to go: Mid- to late October
Home to the second largest canyon in the country, Palo Duro Canyon State Park is well worth a 30-minute southbound detour. Cruise into the park for a quick look at what’s considered the Grand Canyon of Texas, and if you have the time, lace up your boots and spend a few hours exploring the rugged terrain. Breathe in the fresh air as you traverse trails on foot, bike, or horseback, or pack it in for night under the stars at one of the area’s many campsites (or glampsites).