Rock Garden Trail

MODERATE 58 reviews

Rock Garden Trail is a 5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Canyon, Texas that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

5.0 miles
777 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash




mountain biking

nature trips



wild flowers



Rock Garden Trail climbs from a field of boulders at the bottom of the canyon to the Rylander Fortress Cliff Trail along the canyons rim.

trail running
6 days ago

Great trail! It was very well marked until the very end when we weren’t sure if we should keep going or turn around. We originally went for a trail run but it turned more into a hike up and trail run down. Overall we loved it!

1 month ago

This is a nicely marked Trail with markers every 0.1 miles. It provides some very nice views along the way as well as at the top. It is also used by bikers but not being one I think it is scary at some places where the path is narrow and there is a steep drop off on one side. We also did the lighthouse trail and a couple of other in the park but this one was the best overall, although the lighthouse trail afforded some nice views for those who climbed to it.

2 months ago

This is a moderate trail especially at the start. Uphill until you get to rim. very pretty views. Returning is much easier I thought the best view was about 0.5 miles from the top and not the top itself. However, by time I reached to top, it was very hot and I did not time

3 months ago

Gorgeous trail! Dog friendly and great views.

3 months ago

Very accessible and wonderfully maintained trail up to the top of the canyon. Unique in that it offers some of the greenest views the canyon has to offer and certainly has some of the best photo ops in the park. Plenty of safe “off trail” opportunities to explore the numerous boulders around you without losing sight of the paved trail. This is my go-to trail anytime I want a little bit of everything and feel like getting a good workout in as well.

Fun trail, about 5 miles out and back and 3-4 hrs to complete depending on how fast you walk. Great views and one the few trails in the canyon that has shaded spots. My 10 yr old loved it but definately make sure to bring plenty of water!

4 months ago

The rock garden is a great trail. A lot of steep uphill downhill. Beautiful views everywhere. trail is marked well every 0.1 mi. This is a very challenging trail run since it has many twists and turns, and it is 1400 feet from bottom to top I believe. Bring plenty of water as it is hot, dry, and shade coverage is very scarce.

5 months ago

good trail, scenic views,

6 months ago

Marked trail head makes this easy to find. Climbing the huge boulders is fun if you go off trail just slightly. Then continue on, we had a nice picnic on one of the boulders with AMAZING views of the canyon. 3 of us plus 2 dogs really enjoyed this trail.

7 months ago

This was a fun trail to hike. Very interesting and entertaining. Was kinda disappointed at the end that there wasn’t a spectacular view but had many along the route there! Hiked Lighthouse one day and this the next. Of the two this was the more interesting and challenging terrain, but lighthouse is spectacular at the end of the hike!

7 months ago

Easily one of my favorite trails in the canyon, fun to shred on a bike too!

8 months ago

Easy trail with a stellar view. We had to cut the hike short because we didn’t have enough water for 2 adults and 4 dogs and we were pretty bummed about it. The hour and a half we spent on it was totally worth it and I would go back in a heartbeat. Trailhead is easy to find and it’s a steady uphill hike. This park was perfect to camp in and the rangers were so helpful and nice.

8 months ago

Very well laid out trail from the canyon floor to the rim. the switch backs could not be laid out better making the trail easy for most anyone to do.

10 months ago

very pretty trail. gets to top of ridge and then you can take a couple of other trails along there. we will go again!

11 months ago

This is s MUST hike trail!!! The views are amazing and they get even better the higher up you go!! It goes from the canyon floor to the rim plus extra trails all over the top with spectacular views. Would not recommend this hike for small children but if older kids are able to hike 6 miles this is the trail you want!!! (6 round trip including looking around a bit from the top .... because you will )

Sunday, August 13, 2017

This is one of my most favorite trails at the Canyon. It might be a little bit difficult for a novice hiker, as there are a few treacherous spots, but there are lots of places to take breaks and take in the views. I recommend going left at the end of Rock Garden Trail and hiking along the rim, the views are fantastic and you might even see some aoudad sheep!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

I'm a beginner hiker. This trail about killed me. But it really was amazing. Great views! There is some shade, but the heat of the day will definitely get you if you're not careful. We took our time and hiked for a couple of hours, and it was great. Very few people. Lots of lizards. Amazing views.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Loved this trail. I would recommend skipping going to the top of the rim and doing the trail up there. There are better views throughout this trail than you get from the top.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Fun hike with great views especially at the top. Not too hard for the average hiker.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A nice hike. Did it in November and didn't see another person til about lunch time

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Did this on our second day of hiking. It was a little harder than the lighthouse trail due to the inclines during the hike. The trail ends at the top of the rim but take a left and you will be on a trail that runs along the rim and has some great views. The trail is unique as it is the one of two that go from the floor to the rim.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Did this trail on 9/4/16 on a cloudy day. A little bit of an incline almost all the way up and a few sections are quite steep. Watch out for those snakes, though! Saw a grand daddy rattler about 5' long at the top of this trail.........My favorite trail in the park!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fun and a little challenging due to the incline. There are a couple of good places to sit and look out over the canyon. I hiked it with my 14 year old daughter and golden retriever. Great views along the way.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Great views and it's a doable add on to the Rock Garden Trail which is the only way to access it. There are no trail signs along the rim and many meandering small Spurs. It's hard to know which is the actual trail, but I would definitely do it again.

Monday, June 27, 2016

I love this trail! It's a little challenging but doable for most people. It offers amazing views from the rim, where it connects to the Rylander Fortress Cliff Trail.

Monday, May 09, 2016

My 3 kids and I hiked this trail. It was a great hike and might have pushed the kids to their limit (my kids are troopers). It took us a couple hours to the top. There are a few High areas of the trail that are very narrow with complete drop offs. This area made me a little nervous for my little ones. Awesome rock formations!!

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Badly marked. We followed what we thought was the trail on the rim of the canyon. Eventually the trail (and bright pink tree markings) died out. We kept going and reached a vehicle trail which looped back to the Rock Garden trail. Rock Garden and this impromptu Fortress Cliff trail combo ended up being about 11 miles total.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Hiked this trail on a perfect warm,clear day (70° ish). Moderate but would rate it difficult for a novice hiker. Beautiful and Scenic! You will see all kinds of wildlife out and about in their element (flocks of wild Turkey, rattlesnakes basking in the sun). A little more secluded than Lighthouse trail. Passed 2 hikers going up and 1 cyclist going down. Will make a point to hike this trail on all my visits to the Canyon. Don’t forget to grab a burg at the Trading Post. You will not be disappointed.

Monday, March 07, 2016

I hike this trail several times a season. This is not an extremely difficult trail, but it is quite the workout. I take my dog on this trail all the time and have never had a problem. This trail is nice because it is a bit secluded and has very few people packing it. By far my favorite for Palo Duro Canyon trails. If you have never hiked in Palo Duro you do need to hike the Lighthouse atleast one time to go see the formation, the trail its self is not all that great.

13 days ago

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