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blue Lighthouse Trail

  4.7 ( 17 )

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6.1 mile 9.8 kilometer loop


Ascent: 361' 110 m
Descent: -361' -110 m
High: 3,120' 951 m
Low: 2,826' 861 m


Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 12% (7°)


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Trail shared by Craig Whiteside

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

Craig Whiteside

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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Apr 18, 2019
Alec Rodriguez
Apr 11, 2019
Dana Beique
Mar 23, 2019
Alese Descoteaux
Mar 15, 2019
Quinn Banas
7mi — 3h 00m
Feb 15, 2019
Joan Pendleton
Feb 4, 2019
Carissa Bryant
Very fun hike! Smooth and flat until the last bit, then it requires some pretty serious climbing to get a close-up view of the Lighthouse.
Jan 9, 2019
Yussra Hamid
Easy and beautiful hike to see the canyon, ending at the lighthouse where there's a convenient place to eat and enjoy 6.1mi — 4h 00m
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

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 17 votes


  4.7 from 17 votes
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Intermediate Intermediate

The Icon of Palo Duro Canyon! I highly recommend doing this trail. If you have good knees, go all the way and climb up to the base. Do pack plenty of water and wear sunscreen. Mar 7, 2019

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