OverviewRock Garden Trail
Rock Garden is a 2.4 mile long trail that takes you from the bottom of the Palo Duro Canyon 600 vertical feet up to the top of a plateau on the north side of the canyon. The beginnings of the trail go through an ancient land slide area where big boulders can be seen all around, hence the name of the trail. Just below the surface of the plateau, you will find a long line of cliffs known as “Fortress Cliff”.
Rylander (Rim) Trail
Rylander Trail appears on the official park map as a 3.7 mile long trail that travels the surface of the plateau at a distance from the rim of the plateau. The map shows several spur trails branching off of Rylander Trail taking you to viewpoints on the edge of the plateau. When I reached the top of the plateau (at the upper end of Rock Garden Trail), I found a well beaten trail that followed the rim of the plateau providing me with continuous views of the canyon below. I followed that trail for 2.1 miles to a spot as shown on the map below.
Rock Garden Trailhead is well marked on the park’s main road near Sunflower Day Use Area.
Rock Garden Trail
Trailhead Elevation: 2770 ft
Elevation at the rim of the plateau: 3400-3440 ft
The trail starts on the north side of the road and begins to go up the slopes in an ancient landslide area among large boulders.
As you go higher, views of the canyon appear below.
Looking up the slopes.
Prominent point on the plateau.
Just below the top of the plateau.
Once I reached the top of the plateau at the end of Rock Garden Trail, I turned east and followed the rim trail. At first not much of the red slopes were visible.
As I went, the views became spectacular.