Read your posting in the newsgroups, asking for a description of favorite get- a-ways in our areas. I live in Southeast Texas, and there are really no good places to get away to around here, so I love driving up to Amarillo, Texas and spending a day or two down in Palo Duro Canyon.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park, located in the Texas Panhandle, entrance 20 miles south of Amarillo, was a favorite summer and winter village area for the Comanche and other tribes. The last Comanche "battle" was also "fought" here, leading to the eventual surrender of Quanah Parker, the last Comanche to surrender.
The 7th Calvary, led by Gen.Ranald MAcKenzie, sneaked down into the canyon very early one winter morning, catching all the villages sleeping. They drove them out into the cliffs, with only what clothes they had on their backs. The cavalry proceeded to burn all the villages, including food, utensils, clothing, and everything the Indians owned. Women and children were forced out barefooted into the freezing weather. It was reported that only one Native American was killed during the shooting. MacKenzie ordered all 1,400 Indian ponies driven out of the village, so as to render the Indians immobile and helpless. After all the horses were driven far down the canyon, all but four or five hundred horses were ordered surrounded by a "human corral", and shot to death.
Quanah's people were defeated, and they eventually made it to the Wichita Mountains, just out of Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, and where they hid out a short while before going on in to the fort and surrendering to MacKenzie.
This history of the canyon is really the main attraction for me, but it's a beautiful place, not only rich in history, but in scenic beauty. Large rock formations, Spanish Skirts, caves, and the Prairie Dog Fork of the Red River winding through it make it an exciting place to visit, hike, or camp. There are stables where you can rent a horse by the hour or half-day or day, many camp grounds, for overnight or day camping, and several very interesting hiking trails. One hiking trail leads to the most famous formation in the canyon, called The Light House. This is a very often photographed formation. There are hundreds and hundreds of ancient, twisted Juniper trees in the canyon.
A replica of Col. Charles Goodnight's dugout is also located in the canyon. There is a general store and trading post, which contains a small cafe, and you can buy souvenirs, jewelry, and T-shirts.
You can find quiet solitude down in Palo Duro Canyon, or you can always find people picnicking or camping if you prefer to be around "civilization". There are biking trails as well as hiking trails. It's a beautiful place to visit and to photograph, and in the evenings you can always hear the coyotes barking and singing to one another, or watch the deer grazing or wandering around the canyon floor, as well as large flocks of wild turkey. This is a State Park, and patrolled regularly by park employees. I recommend it highly. It's one of my favorite places and I go there as often as I can. The drive down into the canyon isn't bad if one has a fear of heights as I do. It's a lovely, scenic drive, and worth taking a look. You'll want to return again.
Thanks for letting me brag about my favorite place.