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Date(s) - 10/14/2017 - 10/17/2017
All Day

Palo Duro Canyon


Palo Duro: Canyon Backpacking

Dates: 10/14-17 Time: Multiday
Early Registration Deadline: 9/27 Early Bird Cost: $165/$195
Registration Deadline:  10/11 Regular Cost:$195/$225
Location: Palo Duro State Park

Trip Description:

Home to the 2nd largest canyon in the United States, Palo Duro State Park is a marvel of erosion and time. This desert landscape is the backdrop of a number of historically significant moments in Texas. In fact, during the summer, Palo Duro plays host to the musical “Texas” about the founding and defending of Texas as an independent nation, and then a state within the Union. The natural landscapes are equally impressive, with large bluffs, plateaus, and classic Texas views.

Trip Cost:

Early Registration (full payment due at registration):

$165 with a TCU ID, $195 as a sponsored guest

Regular Registration:

$195 with a TCU ID, $225 as a sponsored guest

  • Prices reflect the TCU student/faculty and sponsored guest rate.
  • Please read our cancellation/refund policy carefully before registering.
  • Price does not include meals on the road



Packing List





Outfitting & Food


Pre-Trip Meeting:

Pre-Trip meetings are required and are held the date of the registration deadline (listed above – generally the week of or week before the trip), from 6-7:30 pm at the TCU Climbing Wall.  You will meet the leaders and other trip members, as well as cover all details such as weather, menu, safety issues, and clothing requirements. You will also be issued all of your equipment at this time (sleeping bags, pad, tent, etc.).


Day 1: We will meet at TCU early in the morning to get on the road and get miles in the rearview mirror. This will be a half day of traveling in the van from Fort Worth up to Palo Duro State Park. After setting up camp, we will explore around Palo Duro State Park, and see classic sights such as the Lighthouse.

Day 2-3: We will spend days 2-3 in the backcountry of Palo Duro State Park hiking for at least 5 hours per day. Delicious meals will be made and there will be downtime around the camp in the evenings. 

Day 4: After a hearty breakfast we will head to the van. Arriving back at the van in time for a healthy lunch, we will then hop in the van and return to TCU by 6pm.


Physical Challenge

This trip is challenging because we will be hiking for about 6-8 miles a day. It will also be challenging because of the number of days we will be on the trail in a row. Participants should have adequate fitness ability and plan on challenging themselves during this trip.


TRIP RATING 2 out of 3 – Due to the duration and the distance we will travel this is classified as an advanced trip.

Packing List

We are limited on space, and the less stuff you bring, the less you have to carry around. Ask yourself…What would I want in the coldest weather or the hottest weather? Pack to be prepared for both!

Things that should be packed inside your personal day pack and kept with you inside the van:

  • Small day pack
  • Money for road meals
  • A warm layer
  • Headlamp
  • Travel size pillow
  • Water
  • Snack food
  • Camera


  • Sunglasses w/retainer strap
  • Personal stuff- extra contact lenses, chapstick, sunscreen, baby wipes, baby powder, ear plugs, hand lotion, medications you usually take…
  • 2 durable crush proof one-liter water bottles or a hydration pack
  • Eating utensils
  • Plastic bowl
  • Mug/insulated cup
  • Hand sanitizer


  • Wide brimmed shade hat
  • Beanie/ stocking cap
  • Bandana
  • Gloves
  • Tennis shoes with good ankle support
  • Hiking Socks
  • Hiking Shoes/ Boots
  • Cotton or synthetic blend hiking shirt (breathable layer)
  • Cotton or synthetic camp shirt (a clean shirt to wear at camp)
  • Synthetic Long Sleeve Top(s) – Polypro, Capilene, or polyester.
  • Fleece jacket or sweatshirt
  • Sports bra
  • Windbreaker
  • Nylon shorts
  • Lightweight long pants/ cotton or synthetic hiking pants
  • Rain Pants
  • Sweatpants
  • Underwear
  • Synthetic long underwear (top & bottom)
  • Bathing suit
  • 15-30˚ sleeping bag and Thermarest sleeping pad
  • Tent with rain fly (sleeps 2-4)
  • Headlamp
  • Camp chair
  • Pack Bag: to hold all of the above items PLUS your personal gear and clothes
  • Expedition First Aid Kit
  • Ground Tarp
  • Stoves, fuel and all cooking gear-pots, pans, spice kit etc.
  • Repair kit for tents, stoves, packs, etc.
  • Water bags -2+ gallon bags for camp use
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert


Hiking around Palo Duro State Park has numerous hazards associated with it. This trip will be hiking over rough terrain which can cause potential ankle or foot injuries. Not dressing appropriately can result in heat or cold illnesses (Hyperthermia or Hypothermia). Not drinking enough water results in dehydration and not being in adequate physical condition can result in sore muscles. Rafting also has risks associated such as drowning. Trip members must make a conscious effort to be safe. One person’s disdain for safety will always result in more hardship for the group. If we do have an accident or injury that requires medical attention beyond the scope of our leader’s experience, the trip is immediately over without refund. Our leaders are trained to administer first aid in an outdoor environment; however, while they may be able to treat injuries they cannot always prevent them.


We will be backpacking around Palo Duro and most campsites will be in the backcountry. This means there will be no access to showers or bathrooms. TCU will provide tents, warm synthetic sleeping bags, and foam sleeping pads. You will have the choice to share a tent with two or three trip members or sleep under the stars. The sleeping area provides us with durable hard packed dirt.


The trip leaders will research the weather conditions in advance to assess the situation. The Trip will be canceled if the weather is dangerous. If you do not receive an email about this, then please be prepared to be out in the weather. Please follow the weather and use your best judgment as well as the packing list to determine what you will personally need to stay warm and dry during the entirety of this trip. Layers are recommended for cold weather and failure to bring proper attire will be detrimental to your experience