We're all familiar with the words palo, and duro. Put them together with the word canyon, and you get one of the Texas panhandle's biggest claims to fame. In fact, it's the biggest claim to fame. It's the Grand Canyon of Texas.

But what do the words "palo duro" actually mean?

It's A Lot Harder To Guess Than You Might Think

Just looking at the words makes it tough to guess just what the meaning behind them might be. Breaking it down does nothing to help.

You can start with, palo. It looks a lot like, pale. It sounds like, Paulo, which happened to be the name of an Italian gentleman I knew in Delaware who owned a pool hall.

Charlie Hardin
Charlie Hardin

So it's either pale, or an Italian gentleman as far as my uneducated mind can gather.

Duro reminds me instantly of the word, enduro. So put it together, I'm coming up with a pale bike, or the man from Delaware riding in a long race.

Neither of these are correct.

Time To Check With The Experts

Concluding that I am far from a linguistic specialist, I have decided to check with what may be considered an authority on the issue. I checked with Texas Parks & Wildlife.

According to them, the canyon has been inhabited by many different cultures. However, it is the Spanish that they attribute the name to.

The words palo duro mean "hard wood." They've also bee said to mean "hard stick," depending on the source you use.

So, technically, it's either Hard Wood Canyon, or Hard Stick Canyon. Both are somewhat underwhelming. I'll stick with Palo Duro Canyon.

Take A Quick Look Inside One Of Palo Duro Canyon's Caves

Check Out These Photos Of The Hidden Cave In Palo Duro Canyon.

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