Texas Canyon, Arizona – Smooth Round Boulders

A rocky outcropping of granite spheroid boulders in Texas Canyon, Arizona. This view is south of the canyon.

Halfway between Tucson, Arizona, and the border with New Mexican lies Texas Canyon. Interstate 10 (I-10), which crosses the southern US states from California to Florida, runs right through the canyon. There is also a convenient rest stop here with restroom facilities!

This is the south-western view from the rest stop on I-10. There is a fence surrounding the rest stop but you can park elsewhere and hike through the area.

What makes this canyon unique are the rocks. The rock formations in Texas Canyon are made up primarily of granite and metamorphic rock, which were formed deep underground and later brought to the surface through the process of tectonic uplift. The area has a long and complex geologic history, with rocks that range in age from approximately 1.4 billion years old to just a few million years old.

One of the most striking features of Texas Canyon is the dramatic cliffs and towering spires that rise up from the desert floor. These features are the result of millions of years of erosion, which has carved away at the softer layers of rock to reveal the harder, more resistant layers beneath. The area is also home to a variety of interesting geological features, including hoodoos (tall, thin spires of rock), arches, and natural bridges. Here is an example:

This outcropping is just outside the fence for the rest stop. You can also hike in Texas Canyon. This looks south from the rest stop.

The boulders also balance on top of each other. This happened due to a type of erosion called spherical weathering. This process is a combination of physical and chemical weathering. The result is these large, circular/ovular rocks balancing on top of each other.

A rock outcropping to the southwest of the rest stop.

The featured image shows the larger of the canyon walls.

A view to the south/southwest. This way looks over a relatively flat area. The mountains in the distance are part of the Coronado National Forest.

To get to Texas Canyon, you need to take I-10 east from Tucson, Phoenix or most places in Arizona. In any state to the east (e.g. New Mexico, Texas, etc) you need to take I-10 going west.

There is no fee to access the rest stop. There are rest stops on both sides of I-10 in Texas Canyon. Both sides only have restroom facilities. There are no food or drink stations/shops here.

Here are some more photos from Texas Canyon:


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