Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   




Panhandle Pleasures

Travel to the top of Texas

It might sometimes seem as if the Panhandle is all prairie and sky. Look closer, and you’ll discover a place of Old West heritage, roadside attractions, surprising canyons and more. Here are six places worth checking out.

_98A3266 Edit

 Chase Fountain | TPWD

Palo Duro Canyon Mountain Biking

Home of the famous Texas outdoor musical, Palo Duro Canyon is filled with rugged beauty and colorful history. It also contains some of the best mountain biking in the state, with 30 miles of trails that climb, drop and wind through the red-walled canyon. Some newer trails follow old CCC paths; the Rock Garden Trail climbs 600 feet in elevation to the canyon rim.


 Katharina Notarianni | Dreamstime.com

Route 66  

This is the place to get your kicks — the famous Route 66 crosses the Texas Panhandle on the way from Chicago to Los Angeles. Much of the road has been supplanted, but its spirit lives on. Amarillo contains a mile-long stretch of vintage Route 66 architecture, and the Midpoint Cafe in Adrian still serves travelers. The VW Slug Bug Ranch and Cadillac Ranch offer modern updates on the route’s quirky culture.

El Capitan_Lee-Hoy_8

 Russell A. Graves

Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge

The oldest in Texas, Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge serves as a wintering area for migrating waterfowl and protects a relatively untouched parcel of shortgrass prairie. Muleshoe features one of the largest concentrations of lesser sandhill cranes in North America. It may also be possible to see eight or more species of raptors in one day. Burrowing owls share homes with prairie dogs.


 Russell A. Graves

Battle of Adobe Walls 

The site of the Battle of Adobe Walls is rich with the history of the Great Plains. This battlefield was the place of two major conflicts, both times involving buffalo hunters and white settlers against the Native Americans. The final battle led to the Red River War and the end of Native American freedom on the Southern Plains. Little remains at the site beyond historical markers.


 Chase Fountain | TPWD

Cross Bar Management Area

Cross Bar is the only Bureau of Land Management property in Texas. Known by adventurers across the West for its 245 million acres of public land, the BLM holds this single tract in Texas, 12,000 acres on the Canadian River. Getting there is no easy task — the only legal access point involves a hike along the river — but there’s more being planned, including campsites, hiking trails and improved access.


 Earl Nottingham | TPWD

Caprock Canyons Trailway

This 64-mile trail follows a rail line converted to use by hikers, bikers and equestrians. It crosses 46 bridges and passes through Clarity Tunnel, one of the last active railroad tunnels in Texas, as it traverses red-dirt canyons and ranchlands. The trailway, managed by Caprock Canyons State Park, is divided into six trail sections with eight trailheads to enable shorter sections to be completed.



back to top ^


Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine 
Sign up for email updates
Sign up for email updates