Palo Duro Canyon summer safety tips

If youâ??re planning on heading to Palo Duo Canyon this weekend to enjoy the warm weather, you may want to take a few extra minutes to plan ahead. Park officials say that lack of preparation is the main cause for hikers finding themselves in problematic situations.

â??People donâ??t realize that Palo Duro Canyon is a beast. Itâ??s only a 20 mile drive from Amarillo, but itâ??s a huge park and there are so many things to take into consideration. From the wildlife to the weather ro the conditions youâ??re hiking in. If youâ??re not prepared for them, they can overcome you as quickly as you decided to even go hiking,â?? said Travis Forrest, Park Ranger and state police officer for Tx Parks & Wildlife.

To deal with constant water flow and any extra flooding that may occur in the Canyon, the park is building bridges in three different areas. The bridges being installed are bridges one, two, and six. Those bridges should allow access to all parts of the park in case of flooding. Officials said that even small amounts of rain between Amarillo and Canyon can funnel into Palo Duro and cause several feet of flooding.

â?? You come to Palo Duro and you think, â??Man this is a desert, thereâ??s no water here.â?? but thereâ??s pretty much constant water flow through this canyon year round,â?? said Forrest. â??Those water crossings get high very quickly. Last august we had a rescue, an individual thought that he could make it through the water crossing. When he went through there, water was probably up to his tires, and he stalled out. When I got there, right after I received a call from the Sheriffâ??s office, he was sitting on the hood of his car and the water was still rising. By the time I got a life jacket and a rope bag out, he was on the roof.â??

Officials said the water can be moving faster than it looks and that different trash and debris can be flowing through without a waderâ??s knowledge. Their main tip for hiking and recreational safety? Just staying cautious.