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Lighthouse Trail

Intermediate
 4.7 (27) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A family-friendly trail that is the center-piece of Palo Duro Canyon.


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Map Key

6.1

Miles

9.8

KM

Loop

3,120' 951 m

High

2,826' 861 m

Low

361' 110 m

Up

361' 110 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

12%

Max Grade (7°)

Dogs Leashed

Features River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers

Family Friendly The trail is wide and obstacle-free with the opportunity for kids to spot numerous lizards. Bring the 4-legged best friend, especially if you need to tire out high-energy dogs.

Overview

The Lighthouse Trail is one of the more popular trails in Palo Duro State Park. The total round trip is a little under 6 miles long. As you make your way along this trail, your destination is the 310 ft high rock formation known as the Lighthouse.

There can be a high volume of foot and bike traffic. Go early to miss the crowds and stay late!

Need to Know

Bring plenty of water during summer days as the canyon can get hot.

Description

The Lighthouse Trail is the most popular trail in the Palo Duro State Park. The trail concludes with the centerpiece formation of stone pillar resembling a lighthouse that tower 300 ft. over the trail.

Glimpses of the lighthouse formation can be seen from multiple viewpoints, but make sure you complete the trail to fully experience it up close (round trip around 6 miles). The trail begins relatively flat, but as it continues trails split, leaving options for gradual elevations and descents vs. more difficult paths for mountain biking.

The path is mainly packed dirt and rock, but loose sandy paths are not absent from this trail. You do have to cross creek beds along the way, but usually they remain dry during summer seasons.

Givens, Spicer, and the Lowry Trail all have a connecting point on this trail. A trailhead sign indicates any turns to different trails; stay left at each junction to continue on Lighthouse.

To access the lighthouse pillar, there is a moderately difficult climb with possible large gaps to step up and over. Remember to bring water and a shade hat, and rest when needed on benches throughout the trail. Keep a head up for mountain bikers.

Flora & Fauna

Cacti are abundant and grow close to the path, in addition to plenty of other native plants. Keep an eye out, as there are lots of lizards scuffling around if you only pay close attention.

Contacts

Shared By:

Craig Whiteside

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 27 votes

#325

Overall
  4.7 from 27 votes
5 Star
74%
4 Star
22%
3 Star
4%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#9

in Texas

#325

Overall
160 Views Last Month
3,983 Since Sep 25, 2015
Intermediate

9%
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78%
0%
13%
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Photos

Kick Buttowski
Nov 8, 2015 near Canyon, TX
Aerial shot of the Lighthouse Trail from a Cessna 172.
Aug 10, 2017 near Canyon, TX
Left to right - Table Mesa, Sunday Creek Valley with Timber Mesa in the distance where the valley bends right, and Capitol Mesa, looking north from the ledge up on the Lighthouse (foreground, very left).
Feb 20, 2019 near Canyon, TX
Capitol Peak
Feb 22, 2018 near Canyon, TX
Left to right - Fortress Cliff in the distance across Prarie Dog Town Fork of the Red River, west faces of Capitol Peak, and Capitol Mesa, looking east along Lighthouse Trail.
Feb 20, 2019 near Canyon, TX
Shorter tower (center) across the Lighthouse base table. Taller main Lighthouse tower is on the right. Seen from the ledge at the base of the main Lighthouse tower.
Feb 20, 2019 near Canyon, TX

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 82 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Aug 8, 2020
Joseph DeLuna
9.3mi — 3h 41m
Jul 22, 2020
Laura Garrett
May 15, 2020
Monica Schmidt
Incredible views from the lighthouse. 6.9mi — 2h 31m
May 15, 2020
Monica Schmidt
So amazing. Be sure to do the last little bit up to the lighthouse. Amazing view from the top. 6.5mi — 2h 45m
Feb 25, 2020
Carissa Bryant
Beautiful, rewarding hike! View from the base of the Lighthouse is one of my favorites in Texas.
Jan 17, 2020
Lawton Jung
6.1mi
Jan 6, 2020
Eric Lynch
6.1mi
Dec 23, 2019
Lisa Howe