The earliest people to visit Palo Duro Canyon were likely the prehistoric Clovis and Folsom cultures, who hunted mammoth there 12,000 years ago. Native American cultures lived in and around the canyon until the Battle of Palo Duro in 1874 and 1875, after which Charles Goodnight used the land to graze his Longhorn cattle. But it wasn’t until the State of Texas bought the land in 1933 – after which Civilian Conservation Corps workers constructed a road from the canyon’s rim to the floor – that the spectacular cliffs and formations of Palo Duro Canyon became a tourist destination. Rather than brave its steep, winding descent in their own vehicles, many passengers enjoyed traveling to and from the canyon by bus. In this undated photo – likely taken around the early 1950s, based on the bus model – a group of sightseers exit Palo Duro Canyon aboard one of the “Five Star Service Class” buses used by the Trailways National Bus System, an early competitor with Greyhound Bus Lines.
by Jason Boyett
Jason is a journalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, and the author of more than a dozen books. His most recent is “12 World Religions: The Beliefs, Rituals, and Traditions of Humanity's Most Influential Faiths”, published by Zephyros Press. Learn more at jasonboyett.com.