CANYON, Texas(KAMR/KCIT)— According to a release from Texas Parks and Wildlife, Palo Duro Canyon State Park will begin to close select trails between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on days when the National Weather Service issues heat advisories for the area.
Officials stated that every year, the park experiences a slew of distress calls during the hot summer months, which stretches park staff and emergency services.
“Days when Palo Duro Canyon sees extreme heat are not only dangerous for visitors, but also our first responders from around the community,” Joe Allen, Superintendent of Palo Duro Canyon State Park said, “This change will emphasize safe recreation in the heat and reduce the demand on fire and rescue teams.”
According to the release, the trails subject to closure include Lighthouse; Comanche; Givens, Spicer, Lowry (GSL); and Rock Garden. Historically, these trails have had the most heat-related incidents, as they provide minimal shade for hikers.
“Our number one priority is the safety of our visitors and staff,” added Allen.“This change will help protect our visitors during the most dangerous part of the day on days with elevated risk. Fortunately, visitors will be able to experience the canyon on other trails during the heat of the day and all trails during the cooler times of the day.
During these closures, there will be other trails and recreational opportunities for visitors to explore.
“Trails like Rojo Grande and Paseo del Rio are more shaded and offer a great experience to guests,” said Allen. “The Lighthouse formation is observable from the Visitor Center and Canyon Gallery’s viewing scope from the comfort of air conditioning. Visitors to the park will still have a great experience, and we hope a safe one.”
Closures will be posted in advance on the Palo Duro Canyon State Park Facebook page.