The Long Lost Attraction Of Palo Duro Canyon You Might Not Know About
Amarillo and Canyon are blessed with one of the most beautiful nature-made attractions in the United States, Palo Duro Canyon.
Palo Duro Canyon is one of the largest canyons in the United States and is one of the coolest places to visit. It's perfect for camping, hiking, and horseback riding to name a few. Palo Duro Canyon is always hosting fun activities to learn more about the canyon and what goes on in this miracle of nature. Even though PDC is a fun place to visit now, they used to have cool attractions inside the Canyon.
Most people know about the Sad Monkey Railroad. It was a fun ride around the Sad Monkey formation in PDC. The ride lasted about 20 minutes. That attraction closed in 1996. The train engine from the ride was located in the front yard of one of the homes near the PDC entrance until it was refurbished and is now on display at Conner Park in Canyon.
The Sad Monkey Railroad was always fun to ride and it is missed by all of those who had the experience. However, The Sad Monkey Railroad wasn't the only ride attraction in Palo Duro Canyon.
Palo Duro Canyon had the Sky Ride Chair Lift
Yes, there was once an actual chair lift in Palo Duro Canyon, you could ride it to the top of a mesa. It was opened in 1959 and closed in 1972.
The Sky Ride was located near Water Crossing #1 and near what is known today as the Givens, Spicer, Lowry trailhead.
Visitors were able to ride the chair lift to the top of the Mesa.
According to a post in a Texas Ag Forum in 2016, Kerryknorpp shared a ton of information about the Sky Ride. Pete Cowart, the PDC Park Ranger at the time, and Knorpp completed the construction of the Sky Ride in the Fall of 1959.
I later bought half interest in the ride on a handshake with Pete, and moved to the Canyon to live, the next Summer, so I could run the ride every light hour (and some dark ones) of the day. I lived in a tool shed at the ride base located above the first crossing on the west side of the highway. A windmill, which was my only source of water was due South of where I stayed.
Knorpp was able to pay Cowart in 51 days for part ownership of the ride. Unfortunately, the end of the Sky Ride came to a close in the early 70's. According to Knorpp, the reason for the closure of the Sky ride was that the insurance company would not insure the ride due to the lack of safety practices.
Too bad it's gone, that would have been a fun ride up a mesa. Nowadays, you'll just have to settle for riding the Sky Ride at Wonderland Park. Wonder if there is a correlation?
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