It is named for the sandstone formations that form the Palisade around it, which are believed to have been created by volcanic activity millions of years ago. Several artifacts from ancient cultures have also been found in the area, including projectile points and pottery shards from ancestral Puebloan people who once lived in the area.
Palisade State Park is known for its abundance of wildlife. Visitors may spot mule deer, elk, bobcats and mountain lions in the area. Other animal species seen regularly include coyotes, red foxes, rabbits and ring-tailed cats. Birdwatchers can observe golden eagles, bald eagles and peregrine falcons, as well as a variety of songbirds.
The park is renowned for its interesting geology. The entire area, including the Palisade cliffs and the rivers that run through it, are of sedimentary origin. Visitors can explore fossil-rich limestone formations, sandstone bluffs, eroded hillsides and riverbanks to discover a variety of fossils from long-gone creatures who once lived in the area.