The small Texan community of Canyon began life in 1889 as a ranching town named after the nearby Palo Duro Canyon. Just 16 miles south of Amarillo, this is one of the Texas Panhandle’s more popular tourist stops, but mainly due to the amazing Palo Duro Canyon, not by any particular virtue of the town itself.

Canyon is best known as the home of West Texas State A&M University and the gateway to the spectacular Palo Duro Canyon State Park, just 13 miles away. A pleasant, laid-back feel hovers over the town of 13,000, making it the ideal base for exploring the nearby canyons, knowing you have a good home to return to.

It’s nearly impossible to get lost in Canyon because of its very small size. Laid out in a grid, the streets run in logical order beginning with 1st Street on the west side. Most of the restaurants, motels and shops are concentrated along several blocks at the heart of this downtown district, with a few others located on the outskirts.


Palo Duro Canyon State Park: running for 60 miles, and sculpted by the Red River over millions of years, this canyon is one of the greatest natural highlights in Texas. Multicolored cliffs towering 800 feet are dotted with groves of trees, presenting an oasis of beauty in an otherwise drab barren landscape.

Texas Legacies: the musical drama Texas is one of the greatest performances of all time, giving life to the unique history of the Texas Panhandle. Since you’re here, you should check out this new version called Texas Legacies at the spectacular outdoor amphitheatre in Palo Duro Canyon.

Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum: The largest historical museum in Texas is an engaging, educational and well-designed exhibit of this region’s special heritage. Most of the exhibits are hands-on and interactive, making it more than just a walkthrough experience.

Golfing: if you’re a golfer, you’ll want to rent some clubs and play the course at Palo Duro Creek, right up against the beautiful state park. It’s open all year round.

Horseback Riding: some of the nicest horseback riding in the state is found at Palo Duro Canyon State Park, where visitors can hire horses and guides to better explore the trails of this wonderful environment.