About Palo Duro Trail run
Palo Duro Canyon State Park opened on July 4, 1934 and contains 29,182 acres of the scenic, northern most portion of the Palo Duro Canyon. The Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930's constructed most of the buildings and roads still in use by park staff and visitors. The Canyon is 120 miles long, as much as 20 miles wide, and has a maximum depth of more than 800 feet. Its elevation at the rim is 3,500 feet above sea level. It is often claimed that Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the United States. The largest, the Grand Canyon, is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and 6,000 ft. deep. Palo Duro Canyon was formed by water erosion from the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River. The water deepens the canyon by moving sediment downstream. Wind and water erosion gradually widen the canyon. Early Spanish Explorers are believed to have discovered the area and dubbed the canyon "Palo Duro" which is Spanish for "hard wood" in reference to the abundant mesquite and juniper trees.
The race was started by Red Spicer as a road race and has morphed into a beautiful trail run. The race takes place in mid- October when temperatures can vary from freezing at the start to over 100 degrees during the afternoon. The race takes place on mostly single track red dirt trails with a variety of rolling hills throughout the course. The views of the second largest canyon in the United States are stunning as the sun comes up and the canyon comes alive. The canyon has 60 miles of ravine with 800 ft cliffs and offers camp sites for those who want to experience more of it before or after the race. The Mesquite, Hackberry and Cottonwood trees offer green and yellow foliage, while the canyon itself is painted in red, brown, and white. The hoodoo rock formations are a wonder to look at as well. The course is a loop course, so you will see people most of the day and return to the start/finish.