Things to Do in Texas Panhandle Plains
- Things to Do in Texas Panhandle Plains
- Russle Up a Rattlesnake
- Devil’s Rope Museum
- Visit the Cadillac Ranch
- Palo Duro Canyon
- Big Texan Steakhouse
- Visit Iconic Amarillo
- Route 66
- Caprock Canyon State Park
- Wonderland Park
- The Grace Museum
- Don Harrington Discovery Center
- Buddy Holly Center
- Figure 3 Ranch
- Carson County Square House Museum
- Mackenzie Park/Joyland Amusement Park
- Amarillo Museum of Art
- National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature
- The American Quarter Horse Association
Enjoy the endless horizon while learning about the art, history, and natural beauty of the plains. There’s nowhere quite like the Texas Panhandle Plains, with its breathtaking canyons and wide-open plains, as well as its trademark cowboy heritage. When you visit this part of Texas, you’ll see some of the most iconic symbols of the American West, such as rugged desert landscapes, historic roads, and one-of-a-kind roadside attractions. Hike the rugged trails of America’s second-largest canyon, drive Historic Route 66, or pay a visit to the birthplace of a rock and roll legend. These are just a few of the activities available in the Texas Panhandle Plains region.
Russle Up a Rattlesnake
Located on the southeast corner of the Texas Panhandle Plains region, the small town of Sweetwater has gained national notoriety thanks to its annual Rattlesnake Roundup. The Sweetwater World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup has been held the second weekend of March each year since 1958. Today more than 30,000 visitors head to Sweetwater each year to either take part or attend this unique event. Beyond the actual snake hunt, the Sweetwater World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup features a Rattlesnake Parade, Miss Snake Charmer Pageant, Rattlesnake Dance, guided bus tours, guided rattlesnake hunts, a barbecue cookoff and more.
Devil’s Rope Museum
Nicknamed “Devil’s Rope” due to the metal “thorns” found along its length, barbed wire revolutionized ranching. At the time barbed wire was invented, the Texas Panhandle was the hub of the nation’s cattle industry, so the impact of “Devil’s Rope” was certainly felt in the region. Today, the Devil’s Rope Museum, located just off Route 66 outside of Graham, TX (actually connected to Route 66 Museum), houses more than 6,000 examples of various barbed wires.
Visit the Cadillac Ranch
Located on I-40 about 12 miles west of downtown Amarillo (between Exits 60 and 62), Cadillac Ranch is an iconic attraction. Originally placed along Route 66, Cadillac Ranch was moved to its current location in 1997 due to the ever-expanding city limits of Amarillo. The Cadillac Ranch was created by a California-based group of artists known as the Ant Farm at the behest of eccentric Amarillo millionaire and art patron Stanley Marsh 3. Cadillac Ranch consists of 10 Cadillacs planted nose-down into the ground. The 10 cars used were year models 1949, ’52, ’54, ’56, ’57, ’58, ’59, ’60, ’62, and ’64. These models were chosen to represent the evolution of the Cadillac’s signature tail fins. Cadillac Ranch gained cult-like status thanks to Bruce Springsteen’s ode to this odd attraction
Palo Duro Canyon
Although the Panhandle region is known as the Panhandle Plains, these are actually high plains, complete with numerous deep canyons. The largest of these canyons is Palo Duro Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of Texas. Palo Duro Canyon is 120 miles long, 20 miles wide and 800 feet deep and today is part of the 20,000 acre Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Popular activities inside Palo Duro State Park are hiking, camping, horseback riding, and mountain biking.
One of Texas’ most impressive natural attractions, Palo Duro Canyon, lies right in the heart of the Texas Panhandle region, just north of the town of Canyon. Also known as the “Grand Canyon of Texas,” Palo Duro Canyon is 120 miles long, 20 miles wide and 800 feet deep. Palo Duro Canyon stretches from the town of Canyon to the town of Silverton and today is part of the 20,000 acre Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Hiking and camping are among the most popular activities in Palo Duro State Park, but mountain biking and horseback riding are also popular activities, including the guided horseback tours and wagon rides operated by the state park.
Big Texan Steakhouse
Everything is bigger in Texas, right? Well, that’s certainly the case at Amarillo’s Big Texan Steak Ranch, which has become famous (perhaps infamous) for its 72 ounce steak challenge. Located on historic Route 66, the Big Texan Steak Ranch offers a “free meal” to anyone who can finish a 72 ounce (4 1/2 pound) steak, baked potato, salad, dinner roll, and shrimp cocktail in one hour. Since 1965, tens of thousands have attempted the 72 ounce steak challenge. The list of those who have succeeded is substantially smaller.
Located on historic Route 66, the Big Texan Steak Ranch offers a “free meal” to anyone who can finish a 72 ounce (4 1/2 pound) steak, baked potato, salad, dinner roll, and shrimp cocktail in one hour. Since 1965, tens of thousands have attempted the 72 ounce steak challenge, which has been immortalized in numerous movies, books and other pop culture mediums, becoming a national icon along the way.
A uniquely “Texas town,” Amarillo was founded in the early 1800s and was once the hub of the cattle industry for the entire United States. Later, it became home to some of the nations most unusual attractions as it was located along the famous Route 66. Amarillo’s main attraction today include the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum, American Quarterhorse Hall of Fame, Wonderland Amusement Park, Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian and the renown Cadillac Ranch.
Route 66 is a long road to be certain. But, the section cutting across the Texas Panhandle is certainly worth driving. The entire length of Route 66 contained within Texas is dotted with interesting and unique attractions. Also situated on Route 66 is the iconic Texas town of Amarillo. Founded in the early 1800s, Amarillo was once the center of the American cattle industry. It later gained fame as a central stop along Route 66.
Caprock Canyon State Park
Located approximately 100 miles southeast Amarillo, Caprock Canyon State Park is home to the state’s official bison herd. In addition to the bison herd, there are numerous canyons which were once home to several different groups of Native Americans, including the Folsom Indians, one of the earliest recorded Native American cultures. The park is also home to a 120 acre lake and more than 100 miles of trails. Popular activities within Caprock Canyon State Park include mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, boating, fishing, swimming, and camping.
Texas’ Greatest Amusement Park. In operation since 1951, Wonderland is one of the most progressive parks in the country.
The Grace Museum
The Grace Museum houses three museums in the historic Grace Hotel — The Art Museum, The History Museum, and The Children’s Museum. The first floor of The Grace Museum includes an elegant, historic marble ballroom, a glass loggia, a large enclosed brick courtyard, a restored lobby, and a beautiful gift shop. The rooftop has a large, open-air terrace.
Don Harrington Discovery Center
You get hands-on experience at the Don Harrington Discovery Center. Participate in static and visiting exhibits, planetarium shows, special events, educational/outreach programs, and children’s science workshops.
Buddy Holly Center
The Center collects, preserves, and interprets artifacts relevant to Lubbock’s most famous native son, Buddy Holly, as well as to other performing artists and musicians of West Texas. Changing exhibitions in the visual arts provide an arena for celebrating the creative talents of fine artists at work in a region distinguished by vast distances and a rich tradition of creative resources.
Figure 3 Ranch
Ride through the pasture of the Figure 3 Ranch to the rim of Palo Duro Canyon for an authentic chuck wagon breakfast and ranch activities.
Carson County Square House Museum
The historic Square House is just one of 21 buildings, galleries, outdoor diorama, and large outdoor artifacts that make up the Square House Museum complex. Case exhibits and full-sized diorama tell the story of the Texas Panhandle and its people.
Mackenzie Park/Joyland Amusement Park
Joyland features over 30 great rides and attractions ranging from water caster and roller coasters to junior rides and family classics, like the colorful carousel, food favorites, exciting fun games and group outing facilities. Mackenzie Park also boasts a golf course, disc golf, and Prairie Dog Town.
Amarillo Museum of Art
Six galleries are programmed with 16 exhibitions per year focused on changing loan exhibitions and art from the Museum’s permanent collections. Educational and children’s programs available.
National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature
A gallery exhibition of the works of award-winning illustrators of children’s literature.
The American Quarter Horse Association
The Heritage Center features many hands-on exhibits, fascinating artifacts, dramatic video presentations, horse demonstrations, and breathtaking works of art. There is even a research library and archives for serious owners and enthusiasts.