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High Plains

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Longhorn cattle near Palo Duro Canyon

The High Plains are in the northern Texas Panhandle.

Cities[edit]

  • Amarillo - The largest city in the region, Amarillo typifies everything that is Texas as it exists in the popular imagination, but offers some surprises beyond the rodeos, cowboy culture, and oversized food items.
  • Borger preserves some vestiges of the early 20th century Panhandle oil rush.
  • Canyon - A university town which is the gateway to Palo Duro Canyon.
  • Clarendon - Home of the region's oldest college.
  • Dalhart - Convenient stopover for skiers on their way to the slopes of North Central New Mexico and Colorado.
  • Fritch - A small town which is the gateway to the Alibates Flint Quarries and Lake Meredith National Recreation Area.
  • Hereford - The heart of High Plains cattle territory.
  • Pampa - The region's second largest city is an industrial hub for the eastern High Plains.
  • Panhandle - An small train depot town with the charming Square House museum.

Other destinations[edit]

  • Alibates Flint Quarry National Monument, near Fritch, [1]. For thousands of years, American Indians came here to collect high-quality flint here for weapon and tool-making which was then traded across the entire continent long before the Europeans made their appearance.
  • Black Kettle National Grassland, north of Canadian. Part of Cibola National Forest. While most of this park is in Oklahoma, this separate 576-acre park includes Lake Marvin, providing a beautiful relaxation spot for any Panhandle traveller who misses seeing lots of trees.
  • Lake Greenbelt, north of Clarendon
  • Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, at Fritch. This man-made lake northwest of Amarillo is a popular spot for boating and fishing and the surrounding canyonlands provide opportunities for hiking and observing wildlife.
  • McClellan Creek National Grasslands, south of Pampa has camping, wildlife, and a small lake.
  • Palo Duro Canyon, near Canyon - The second largest canyon in the US.

Understand[edit]

The Texas High Plains are essentially the northern three-quarters of the rectangular panhandle of the state. While the Llano Estacado plateau extends geographically as far north as Amarillo, Amarillo and surrounds are included in this region because they have a lot more cultural and economic ties with the other High Plains cities.

The agriculture of this area has traditionally been primarily wheat and corn, in contrast to the vast cotton-growing Llano Estacado region to the south. You can also visit the palo duro canyon!!

Talk[edit]

Like the majority of the state, there is a majority of English speakers closely followed by a large mostly bilingual minority of Spanish speakers.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

By car[edit]

By bus[edit]

Greyhound has terminals serving Amarillo, Dumas, and Hereford.

Get around[edit]

A car is an almost absolute necessity to see most of the sights of the region. For those arriving by plane, car rental is readily available at the airport in Amarillo.

See[edit][add listing]

Ice-covered trees outside of Panhandle
  • Big Cross - Visible up to 20 miles away, the 190 foot cross off I-40 at Groom 40 miles east of Amarillo is the second tallest in the US.
  • Historic Ritz Theatre, in the tiny town of Wellington. This 1928 movie palace, located on the courthouse square, was recently restored and revitalized by Historic Wellington, Inc. In 2007 it reopened, showing first-run and classic films. From I-40, take US 83 south from Shamrock near the Oklahoma border.
  • Playa lakes - The High Plains is dotted with these small lakes and ponds which form in natural depressions after heavy rain, sometimes lasting up to a year or more.
  • Prairie dog towns, near Pampa and Dumas. Wildlife includes not only prairie dogs, but various hawks and burrowing owls as well.
  • Rodeo - Nearly every little town in the area has an annual event, with the biggest being the Tri-State Fair and Rodeo in Amarillo in mid-September.
  • Route 66 remnants can be found in many stops along the current I-40 route, including the famous leaning water tower in Groom, and vintage gas stations and other buildings in Adrian, Vega, Amarillo, Alanreed, McLean, and Shamrock.

Museums[edit]

The High Plains region has many historical museums which focus mainly on the pioneer days in the region, American Indian history, and early railroad artifacts.

  • Carson County Square House Museum, in Panhandle.
  • Devil's Rope Barbed Wire Museum, in McLean. Dedicated to the fence that tamed the West. This museum has one of the world's largest collections of wire fencing and fence-making tools.
  • Mobeetie Jail Museum, Old Mobeetie, 806-845-2026, [2]. Thur-Tue 1-5PM. Restored 1886 native rock jail; early-day sheriff’s quarters authentically furnished. Also features newly restored Old Mobeetie school building, Cataline one-room schoolhouse and a barbershop. Displays of historical items from Wheeler County; antiques. Facilities include 142 RV hookups, modern restrooms, covered outdoor pavilion and an indoor auditorium in the Old Mobeetie School building. Open Thur.–Tue. 1–5 p.m. Closed Wed. Museum is 11 miles west of Wheeler. Nearby is historical marker for Fort Elliott, established in 1875 and abandoned in 1890. None of the original buildings remain. Gratuity accepted.  edit
  • Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, in Canyon. The largest historical museum in the state.
  • River Valley Pioneer Museum, in Canadian.
  • White Deer Land Museum, in Pampa.
  • XIT Ranch Museum in Dalhart.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Enjoy the night sky. Pull your car over to the side of the road in the country and take in the stars, as the relative scarcity of cities and the 180 degree horizons offer spectacular views of the kind a city dweller has never seen.
  • Hike, ride horses or birdwatch in Palo Duro Canyon, Lake Meredith Recreation Area, and a number of other grassland parks in the area.
  • Be a ranch hand (temporarily) at Bar H Dude Ranch in Clarendon. Experience ranch life first hand, or just watch and learn. Other area ranches can be found near Pampa, Canadian, Borger, and Memphis.
  • Watch a sunset. The lack of trees blocking the horizon makes for spectacular sunsets.
  • Tour Wheeler County in the far eastern High Plains. Two to six hour tours visit various old buildings and sites in Wheeler, surrounding ranchland, and Mobeetie, the oldest town in the Panhandle, now almost a ghost town. For information, call 888 826 3790 or 806 826 3790. Wheeler is located 16 miles north of Shamrock near the Oklahoma border.


Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Big Texan Steakhouse, in Amarillo, is the most famous restaurant in Texas. Eat a 72oz steak in under an hour and it's free.
  • Ugly crust pies at the Midway Cafe, the oldest Route 66 café still in operation. It is located in the tiny town of Adrian, west of Vega and marks the halfway point of Route 66, which extended 1139 miles in either direction.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Most travellers base their High Plains travels in Amarillo, where a wide range of accommodations are available. A few other cities have a decent selection of amenities, notably Pampa, Borger, Dalhart, and Clarendon.

A number of destinations have unique bed-and-breakfast style lodgings available at area ranches such as those near Clarendon, Canadian, Borger, Memphis and Pampa.

Stay safe[edit]

The High Plains receive the bulk of Texas' annual snowfall as well as most of the state's tornados. Keep yourself informed of weather reports and heed any warnings issued.





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