CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT)- Due to persistent rainfall over the past week Palo Duro Canyon State Park has closed its trail system. The park remains open to visitors camping, walking, and driving on roadways.
According to Park Interpreter Bradley Kliemann, the park typically experiences 18 inches of rain a year. Recently they’ve experienced around seven inches.
“The biggest impact that we’re seeing right now, besides some of that flooding as I mentioned is of course going to be the trail closure right here,” said Kliemann. The reason we close trails is for our sort of soil degradation here. If people go out there and transfer around through the muddy soil out there, it loosens everything up.”
Kliemann continued, ” Next time it rains, the flooding will be even worse. So, we want to be sure that by closing the trail system by keeping people off them, we allow them to naturally dry out there and allow them to sort of stay more intact there.”
The areas of the Canyon most impacted by flooding are the lower levels.
“Trails like the Paseo del Rio, Sunflower Trail, Rojo Grande, and Cottonwood Trails, those are going to be our most affected,” said Kliemann. “They are basically going to be underwater right now.”
Kliemann adds that the campsite most affected is the Hackberry Camping Loop, five through seven and spot three. They are saturated with water.
Kliemann shared they have moved campers around who reserved those spots.
The campsite most affected are going to be in the Hackberry Camping Loop right now five through seven and camp, and spot number three, which are also very saturated with water.
It typically takes around one to two days for an inch of rain to dry according to Kliemann and that sunny dry conditions will help the land dry faster.
According to Chief Meteorologist John Harris, cool temperatures and more rain are expected, causing more flooding.
“It looks like it’s going to be a wet and cool weekend,” said Harris. “I think scattered showers and thunderstorms once again on Saturday, the ground is starting to become saturated in some areas. So flooding will be a concern, more of a nuisance flooding. Sunday, I think we’ll see more of just a scattered variety of thunderstorms. Monday, right now it looks like we might get by with a pleasant day without the threat of severe thunderstorms.”
Park officials say the trails won’t reopen the least common denominator is dry, but there is still plenty to explore.
“You can still drive through our paved Loop Road here, you can still visit the canyon, see the beautiful view that you have behind me right there,” said Kliemann. “You can also still hike on the roadway there, if you would like to get outside and get some exercise there. You can also bike on the roadway as well.”