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Lighthouse Trail

 4.7 (12)
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6.1 Miles 9.8 Kilometers

361' 110 m


-361' -110 m



Avg Grade (1°)


Max Grade (7°)

3,120' 951 m


2,826' 861 m


Shared By Craig Whiteside


All Clear 13 days ago

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

Craig Whiteside

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.


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.


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.


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Your Check-Ins


Jan 7, 2019
Yussra Hamid
We had a picnic up at the flat part of the lighthouse trail. Really enjoyable. 3 miles one way. Great off trail areas to climb 6mi — 5h 00m
Nov 3, 2018
Jacq Marie
Oct 21, 2018
David McCormick
Small scramble to get to the base of the lighthouse, but a great hike. Probably the best in the park.
Jun 14, 2018
Ashley Cordero
Apr 10, 2018
Clark Justclark
First trip to Palo Duro and what an amazing journey. Low 40s to start, low 70s at end. Not crowded at all, ran into maybe 12 folks along the way. 6mi — 4h 00m
Apr 8, 2018
Levi Myers
Hiked half the trail out and back with a few friends and 4 children under 6. Well maintained hard packed trail with a few loose and rocky sections. 2.8mi
Jan 3, 2018
David C
10mi — 4h 30m
Nov 4, 2017
Cash Ficke

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 12 votes


  4.7 from 12 votes
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