The Palo Duro Canyon is one of my favorite places in Texas, especially for portraits and elopements (you can learn more about it here)! Keep reading to learn about some of my favorite Palo Duro Canyon locations. Located 20 miles from Amarillo, the canyon is truly breathtaking with its vibrant colors, vastly different landscape, and deep canyon walls. Sunset at Palo Duro Canyon should be considered one of Texas’ greatest treasures. It’s easy to see why Georgia O’Keffee and many other artists have called this area home.
Have you booked your portraits in the canyon yet? If not, you’ve come to the right place! As an Amarillo Photographer, one of my biggest tips for someone wanting to elope or have their family portraits done here is to hire someone familiar with the canyon. Palo Duro Canyon State Park is the second-largest canyon in the United States at 120 miles long and 20 miles wide at parts. While there is a wonderful trail system out there, it is very easy to get lost.
If you are up for an adventurous family photo session, elopement, or you’re just a couple in love, check out my favorite places to photograph in Palo Duro!
Grassy Field Behind the Mack Dick Pavilion
As you finish the decline into the canyon, the Mack Dick Pavilion is located directly to your left. You’ll head down the Pioneer Nature trail, which runs alongside a huge field of tall native grass. This location is great for sunrise or sunset.
Open Valley Past the Stables
Heading deeper into the park, you will pass the Old West Stables on your right. Turn into the next opening… it’s marked with a reflector and nothing else. After pulling into a small parking lot, you will be amazed at the deep red valley that is in front of you. The Sad Monkey Rock Formation makes a perfect backdrop for any kind of photo session.
One of the easiest locations to get to in Palo Duro Canyon with one of the boldest views is The Big Cave (marked #10 on the PDC Trail map). It’s actually just a big hole in the wall, but the open landscape leading up to it gives a very dramatic background. It is also fun to use the steep rock path closer to the opening to capture family photos of the kids exploring. If you feel adventurous, climb up to the side of the cave with your wedding dress!
The CCC Trail is perfect for sessions wanting only one location but different backdrops. It has an easy trail with tall grassy fields (look out for the cactus!), an overlook of the canyon, and beautiful cliffs.
White Rock Overlook
This is one of the first locations you pass when descending into the canyon. I am not sure what the official name is, but it is one of the most popular locations for photos in the canyon. I like to photograph here at blue hour, right after the sun has set. With brilliant white rock and an overlook of the canyon, it always leaves me speechless!
Whichever of the Palo Duro Canyon locations are your favorite, I would love to help you capture memories there. Reach out and let’s plan to meet in the canyon for your next photo shoot!