Texas Roads - Park Road 5

Park Road 5

Park Road 5 is completely unrelated to TX 5, part of Texas' massive and redundant system of differently named state highways. This comes at the end of TX 217 where it enters Palo Duro Canyon, and changes designations because it enters the state park. Why? Why not? It's Texas, their highway network has to be bigger than everyone else's. Also notice that it seems to begin at MP 117, which is clearly longer than any Park Road and also well longer than TX 217. That's because it's 107 miles south of the northern state boundary - for whatever reason, the first reference marker is 010 instead of 000. That also means mileage increases from north to south not just here, but across Texas (except on Interstates), which is wrong by accepted standards.

You would think Texas would have enough Park Road numbers to come up with a separate one instead of designating this an Alternate. Actually, Park Road 5 loops through the bottom of Palo Duro Canyon, so rather than have PR 5 end at itself, half of the loop is designated "Alternate." It changes over at a random parking area.

After entering the loop (I went straight instead of turning on the Alternate), there are no more bridges or culverts. Any stream that needs crossing is done with a wash. If it rains, this part of the road would be closed due to flooding, and there are warnings posted around the park regarding that possibility. Unlike some of the washes in the deserts of California, Arizona, and New Mexico, there is serious rain potential here. Each wash has ridged concrete pavement and a handy-dandy flood gauge for your convenience.

When I was there, there was some ongoing wash construction. The guys just waved me through as my piddly 4-cylinder rental car slogged through 4 inches of mud piled on the roadway. Hey, if their vehicle can do it, why can't mine?

Palo Duro Canyon scenery
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