Go West, Young Man: Enjoying the Texas Panhandle

When most people think of Amarillo, Texas, a city-meets-country town in northwest Texas in an area commonly referred to as the Texas Panhandle, most think of the city’s quirkiest and perhaps most famous attraction, Cadillac Ranch. Cadillac Ranch, which is not actually a ranch and has no actual affiliation with Cadillac, is a roadside oddity that came to fruition in the 1970s by some California-based artists and hippies who wanted to create a talk-of-the-town attraction along Route 66.

While Cadillac Ranch in an undeniably cool site to see while you vacation in the Amarillo area, it is only one on a long list of many reasons to visit the area. Amarillo, which means “yellow” in Spanish, is a city of about 200,000 people located in the grasslands of Texas Panhandle. Famous for unpredictable weather, Amarillo is located nearer to Colorado, New Mexico and Oklahoma than it is to Texas’ state capital Austin.

Located about 30 minutes southeast of the city is Palo Duro Canyon, the second-largest canyon in the United States and a huge draw for outdoor lovers from all over. Whether you like to ride horses, hike or simply enjoy the outdoors, you’ll enjoy time spent at Palo Duro Canyon during your Amarillo vacation. When you plan your Amarillo adventure, put Palo Duro Canyon on your list and try a few of these fun activities that will be fun for every traveler in your party.

Five fun things to do at Palo Duro Canyon

  • Hike to “The Lighthouse,” the most famous rock formation at the canyon. Often seen in pictures and drawings of Palo Duro Canyon, the lighthouse in a rock formation about three miles off the road and is fairly easy to hike to. Pack your food and water and set out on a day hike to see this stunning rock formation.
  • Learn about the area at the visitor’s center. Built in 1933, the visitor’s center gives guests sweeping views of the canyon. While at the center, guests can watch videos and study artifacts that contain interesting information about Palo Duro Canyon. You can also shop for unique, handmade jewelry, pottery and more from Native Americans.
  • Observe Texas longhorns in the wild. Look for longhorns from Texas’ official longhorn herd. But longhorns are far from the only form of wildlife you will see in this beautiful canyon. While you’re exploring the canyon, you may come across different types of snakes and lizards as well as deer, moose, coyotes, bobcats and more.
  • Visit the cowboy dugout. At the north end of the Paseo Del Rio Trail is a cowboy dugout built into the side of a hill. Large enough only to accommodate furniture to sleep, eat and prepare food, the cowboy dugout reminds us of what life might have been like for early pioneers headed west many, many years ago.
  • Go for a horseback ride through the Canyon. The Old West Stables offers up horses and trail guides for visitors who wish to explore the canyon on horseback. Get a true taste of the Wild West when you saddle up and head out for the day like the cowboys of yesteryear may have.

Amarillo lodging

When you book your stay in Amarillo, consider a stay at Fort Amarillo RV Park & Resort. Conveniently located near I-40, Fort RV enables you to enjoy all the fun sights and sounds that Amarillo has to offer while still being close enough to Palo Duro Canyon that you can go an enjoy a day or two with Mother Nature. Fort RV features a large rec hall, laundry facilities, a pool, a game room and more to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Don’t skip a visit to Lizzie Mae’s Mercantile, a fun souvenir store and boutique located next door to Fort Amarillo RV.


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