Amarillo’s primary attraction is Palo Duro Canyon — the second largest canyon in the United States. It’s a spectacular place to visit and equally spectacular for running and trail running. The canyon is known for its incredible rock formations and incredible colors — especially around sunrise or sunset. Notes: Admission fee required. Also, many of the trails are very exposed and the heat can be brutal. Carry water and take the right precautions.
The place is also a treat for runners because there is such a variety of trails, and many are fairly level. The most popular, and great for running (especially when not too crowded) is the Lighthouse Trail, which leads to the iconic Lighthouse rock formation. It’s 5.6 miles out and back and and fairly flat, except for the 0.5 mile steep hill approaching Lighthouse rock. It winds through small bushes and cacti, and features great views of the canyon.
There are several other terrific trails for running, ranging from easy to moderate to difficult. Something for everyone! See the trail map and descriptions, which detail length, features, and degree of difficulty. For shade, we recommend the Rojo Grande Trail. For a running challenge, the Givens, Spicer, Lowry Trail is a 10k out and back named for the runners who helped carve out the trail.
Our thanks to Aurélie Vilmer for suggesting this spot and for her wonderful photos.
- Depends on trail chosen. Lighthouse Trail is 5.6 miles out and back
- Lighthouse Trail is 398 foot (121m) gain -- all of that in last 0.5 miles
- Depends on trail chosen.
- Most trailheads easly reachable by car; the Canyon is 30 min south of Amarillo