New Merus Adventure Park in Texas is a Truck Camping Mecca

Tucked away in the Texas Panhandle is a new kind of destination for truck camper adventurers. Merus Adventure Park is a privately-owned, 5,500-acre eco-playground set at the edge of Palo Duro Canyon. With stunning sunsets, rugged terrain, and breathtaking views from above and within America’s second-largest canyon, the park is more than just a day trip from Amarillo, Texas—it’s a national destination for outdoor lovers who value responsible recreation, stewardship, and the feeling of community. There’s no doubt about it. The new Merus Adventure Park in Texas has the potential to be a new mecca and gathering place for truck campers their owners.

Trails, Truck Camping, and North Africa’s Aoudad Sheep

Set on what used to be a ranch, Merus offers more than 33, hand-built off-road trails to explore in your truck camper and Jeep. There’s enough trail to travel for four days and never see the same scenery twice. Merus also offers primitive truck and tent camping sites starting at just $20 a night.

The sites, which accommodate single truck campers or large groups, are dispersed throughout the property and allow campers to perch on the canyon rim or drop down into the canyon itself to get out of the wind and away from cell coverage for a truly off-grid experience. For campers looking for even more comfort, Merus offers cabins and glamping sites.

But trails and campsites won’t be the only thing you’ll see, according to Merus CEO Dirk van Reenen.

“The wildlife here is spectacular,” he said. “Our park is known for the Aoudad Sheep, a fascinating North African barbary breed that roams the canyon by the tens of thousands. You’ll also likely see mule deer, coyotes, roadrunners, and turkeys—not to mention the incredible flora that thrives here. Look for red berry juniper, native wildflowers, mesquite, and hackberry too.”

The park’s unique combination of rich ecosystem and historical artifacts thrive under van Reenen’s stewardship. The South African-born founder has banned high-speed vehicles like ATVs and motorcycles in favor of slow-speed and low-noise alternatives. He’s also put a cap on the number of vehicles that can access the park to provide a premium experience to those exploring within. By limiting daily entrance to 200 vehicles, van Reenen ensures a healthy amount of serenity, high-quality staff service, and pristine facilities.

“Everything is best-in-class,” said Merus visitor, Blaine Seitz. “The park, the people, the trails—everything!” Seitz, who became a member after his first visit, cites Merus’ guided tour offering as a deciding factor.

For seasoned adventurers and first-timers alike, Merus provides experienced guides to lead tours across the rugged terrain and to hidden gems, offering an unforgettable blend of adrenaline and awe. Day passes are also available for visitors who prefer to explore by themselves.

A Texas-Sized Vision

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes van Reenen’s vision for what Merus Adventures will eventually become. The Palo Duro Canyon park is van Reenen’s first step forward in an ambitious plan to purchase, steward, and sustain half a million acres of private land, funded by a combination of responsible recreation and education.

Merus Adventure Park not only offers a “public lands experience” in a state where very little public land or national parks exist, but the privately-owned park also offers a better outdoor experience in many ways. As public lands struggle with a combination of diminishing access and record visitor numbers, the idea of a carefully-managed network of private parks offering a premium outdoor experience at an affordable price becomes uniquely appealing for a park that will soon become a truck camping mecca.

“Here at Merus you can challenge yourself to do things you’ve never done, discover new limits and shatter old ones, and end the day with a smile on your face as you think about the adventures you’ve had,” said van Reenen. “At the heart of what we’re doing on a national scale is a deep desire to nourish the adventurous spirit.”

Pricing is very reasonable for a carefully-managed park of this caliber. A day pass starts at $15 if you’re planning to hike, bike, or camp. If you’re planning on tackling any one of the 33 trails in your rig, the pass is a bit pricier at $45 a day. Interested in an annual membership? Merus Adventure Park offers one of those too for $947. That membership price not only includes access to the park, but also a 30 percent discount on camping as well as a host of member-only perks.

An Adventure Park for All

Community and family are central to the park’s culture. Although Merus invites off-roaders to come play, the destination is not just for truck camping and off-roading.

“I wanted to create a place where hikers, bikers, cavers, campers, runners, and off-roaders could all learn and play together,” said van Reenen. “We’ve built the kind of place where people can chat over coffee in the morning and invite each other to join the day’s adventures. You really feel like you’re part of a special and welcoming tribe here, and I think that’s the reason people drive hours to be here every weekend.”

Van Reenen’s own young family spends the lion’s share of their time at the park, learning, working, and adventuring alongside guests.

Classes, events, cave tours, and rental vehicles are also available, making it a destination to be explored on repeat in a variety of ways.

“I look forward to a lifetime of making memories here at Merus Adventure Park,” said Seitz.

Interested in a meetup at the new Merus Adventure Park in the Fall/Winter 2024? Contact Mike at mellomike62@gmail.com to let us know.

About Mello Mike 889 Articles
Mello Mike is an Arizona native, author, and the founder of Truck Camper Adventure. He's been RV'ing since 2002, is a certified RVIA Level 1 RV Technician, and has restored several Airstream travel trailers. A communications expert and licensed ham radio operator (KK7TCA), he retired from the U.S. Navy in 2004 as a CWO3 after 24 years, holds a BS degree, and now runs Truck Camper Adventure full-time. He also does some RV consulting, repairs, and inspections on the side. He currently rolls in a 4WD Ram 3500 outfitted with a SherpTek truck bed with a Bundutec Roadrunner mounted on top.

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