The Ultimate Guide to Eloping in Palo Duro Canyon
+ For the couples looking forward to an adventurous intimate experience +
Elopements are a soul-filling, thrilling, and intimate experience. Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest Canyon in the United States of America and is located at 27 miles from Amarillo, Texas. The in-between meeting place of Dallas, Texas to Colorado Springs, Colorado. It has beautiful open spaces, big Texas stars and the echoing of coyotes rolling throughout the valleys. It is a place you will fall in love with instantly. West Texas is notorious for its weather. Even in May, Palo Duro Canyon can still see some snow-capped cliffs and the next day a beautiful spring thunderstorm. What stays true throughout all the seasons is the fog that rolls in touching every deep part of the canyon and the famous red dirt.
If you plan on eloping or having your wedding in Palo Duro Canyon, make sure to use this guide and then reach out to us so we can guide you in the right direction.
Any large wedding must be planned through TPWD for approval. There may be a fee charged for the usage of certain areas of the park. I will help with the contact of the superintendent.
Small elopements and weddings do not have to be planned through the superintendent and the only fee is the entrance fee.
Pets are allowed in the park, but must be on a leash and attended at all times.
There is no public consumption and/or display of alcohol (can, bottle, cup or any other container) permitted in campsites or day-use areas. Violation of this law results in a Class C Misdemeanor. I’d suggest sparkling juice for toasting or your favorite flavored La Croix.
We leave no trace. What this means is we avoid leaving trash behind, stepping on plants, messing with animals, or harming the canyon in any way.
Your wedding or elopement can not block trails or access to any facilities.
I highly suggest getting married either at sunrise/early morning or later on in the evening on a weekday. Weekdays give you the chance to have more of a private, intimate and adventurous time without a tourist crowd. If you plan on using campsites think about making your reservations months in advance if it falls around busy vacation times in the US or holidays.
As summer approaches in the Canyon you will most likely be seeing 3-digit temperatures. The time of the day when you have your ceremony with friends and family around matters the most. June, July + August are usually the months with the highest temps. If your wedding or elopement date falls within these months, make sure you think about having a sunrise or sunset ceremony or adding extra protection with our bridal tents or other canopy options. Spring and fall are the best times to be in the canyon without worrying too much about the heat. Additionally, May – October are great times to elope in Palo Duro Canyon as the valley is full of wildflowers with greenery all around. Surprisingly, December is also a great month. I love snow in the canyon!
Safety in Palo Duro Canyon
Palo Duro Canyon is a true wilderness and desert and should be treated as such. Coyotes, wild turkey, white-tailed deer, Barbary sheep, bobcats, and rattlesnakes are common in the canyon. As Palo Duro Canyon doesn’t have a high number of sightings per year for mountain lions, they can be traveling though and you need to be prepared for any type of animal on rural hikes. Mountain lions, when spotted, are normally spotted early mornings or dusk on the South-South East side of the Canyon. Just be aware of your surroundings. Also, several members of the official State Longhorn Herd live in the park as well. Look for them on the rim near headquarters!
Oh, and wasps + yellowjackets… I’ve read that they are attracted to bright colors of clothing, I’m not sure how much of that is true, but because of reading that I never wear bright colors.
Many times it’s not the animal attacks or encounters that can harm you in Palo Duro Canyon, it’s the cactus and heat. Saying that, make sure you are practicing LNT (leave no trace) in the canyon as well as packing plenty of water for your stay. The rocks, cliffs, plants, flowers and cactus are all that make Palo Duro Canyon so magical and it is our job as it’s guest to make sure we preserve it. Please make sure you bring items that protect not only you but the park as well such as placing wrappers and empty bottles in a backpack, not kicking down cactus or stomping through a field of flowers.
Location Ideas for Elopements in Palo Duro Canyon
These locations are ones I have personally scouted out and have shot. Some of my brides love the adventure side to where we just hike until we find the “right” place and others like to plan out the trails ahead of time. You can see the photos below that can include certain areas that take about 5 hours round trip of just hiking, all the way to places that take about 15-30 minutes to hike to. Each of these locations you can bring anyone in the world you want with you, just make sure they are physically able to do these trails. Also, don’t forget, I am legally ordained in the state of Texas, so if you want it to just be you two I’ve got you covered. Keep in mind these are not ALL the locations, just a few popular areas
Small Wedding Location Ideas in Palo Duro Canyon
These locations can hold up to 10-15 people and are easily accessible for those who have family or friends that can not walk very far. These locations do have either a standing room or chair room. Keep in mind these are not ALL the locations, just a few popular areas.
Weddings with Large Number of Guests
These locations are ideal for those weddings who will have a large number of guests that do not want to rent out the venue in Palo Duro Canyon. All of these locations are easy to access and most are in campgrounds where your guests can be under canopies or tents as well as bathrooms in the area. Keep in mind these are not ALL the locations, just a few popular areas for larger groups