Picture this: you, the open road, and the thrill of enjoying an epic road trip. Road tripping isn’t just about the destinations, it’s about the journey's spontaneity–whether deciding to take a detour to explore quirky roadside attractions or simply enjoying the scenic views as you cruise along.
The ability to stop whenever and wherever you please makes road trips special. You could ride trains or planes, but the in-between moments make travel memorable.
And guess what? We’re here to make your road trip even more epic. Today, we’ll dive into the three must-see stops along your road trip to Colorado from Texas. Enjoy some of the best attractions in the region, from iconic landmarks to hidden gems; we’ve got your road trip covered!
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Exploring the Route From Dallas to Amarillo
The route from Dallas to Amarillo offers a journey through the diverse landscapes of Texas. The trip covers approximately 365 miles, where you’ll see the urban sprawl of Dallas turn into the open plains and canyons through Amarillo. Here’s a detailed overview highlighting both scenery and attractions along the way:
As you make your way to Amarillo, don’t miss out on seeing the World’s Largest Bowie Knife. The knife weighs over 3,000 pounds and is 20 feet long with a 14-foot, 5-inch stainless steel blade. Bowie, Texas, is a must-visit for history buffs interested in the iconic Bowie Knife.
The name Bowie comes from James “Jim” Bowie, known for his role in the Texas Revolution and Battle at the Alamo.
Wichita Falls, Texas
One of the quirky and unique attractions on your road trip is in Wichita Falls. See the “World’s Littlest Skyscraper.” Standing at a mere 40 feet tall, this four-story structure has become a symbol of an infamous scam in the city’s history. In the early 20th century, an ambitious promoter secured funding from investors for what was supposed to be a towering skyscraper. However, the building fell drastically short of the expected size upon completion.
Add The Falls, a picturesque natural gem nestled in Lucy Park, to your stop or stretch your legs out and explore Lake Wichita, where you can hike, fish, or bird watch.
Explore Native American and Pioneer history at the Red River Valley Museum. Find Native American artifacts and view exhibits on the region’s cultural heritage. For a breath of fresh air, head to the nearby Copper Breaks State Park, known for its scenic trails and rugged landscapes. If you’re a fan of public art, take a stroll through downtown Vernon and discover the colorful murals and sculptures.
As you venture along the road trip from Dallas to Amarillo, make sure to include a stop in Chillicothe, Texas, a town with its unique charm. A must-visit attraction in Chillicothe is Valley Pecans, where you can immerse yourself in the world of pecans. This family-owned orchard and store offers a delightful experience, allowing you to sample and purchase various pecan products, from freshly harvested nuts to delectable treats like pecan pies and candies.
Quanah is home to the Quanah Parker Trail, honoring the last chief of the Comanche tribe, Quanah Parker. As you continue your road trip through Texas, visit the Hardeman County Historical Museum to delve into the region’s past. View artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of Quanah and its surroundings.
Take a pause in Turkey, Texas, home of Bob Wills, also known as the “King of Western Swing.” Pay a visit to the Bob Wills Museum, showcasing memorabilia and insights into the life and music of this iconic figure.
Turkey is also known for its unique attractions, such as the Stonehenge replica known as "Texas' Stonehenge," a quirky and fascinating site worth a visit.
Before reaching Amarillo, a must-stop destination is Quitaque, Texas, renowned as the Bison Capital of Texas and home to the breathtaking Caprock Canyons. Explore the expansive Caprock Canyons State Park, where red-hued cliffs and rugged terrain create a stunning backdrop for outdoor enthusiasts.
Discovering the Wonders from Amarillo to Denver
Welcome to Amarillo, the jewel of the journey! Positioned as the central hub for countless ski enthusiasts bound for Colorado or New Mexico, Ski Amarillo invites travelers to pause, unwind, and soak in its unique charm. This Texan gem combines history, culture, and quirky attractions with must-visit Route 66 attractions, a vibrant arts scene, and a bustling culinary scene. Dive into the city’s cultural tapestry at these stops.
Cadillac Ranch, located just west of Amarillo, Texas, is an iconic roadside attraction featuring ten Cadillacs buried nose-first in the ground. Created in 1974, this surreal art installation by Ant Farm has become a symbol of American pop culture, individual expression, and the free spirit of Route 66.
Palo Duro Canyon
Palo Duro Canyon, the "Grand Canyon of Texas," is the second-largest canyon in the United States. Located just a short drive from Amarillo, this natural marvel offers vibrant rock formations, diverse wildlife, and stunning views. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. Make Palo Duro Canyon a must-visit destination.
Cowgirls and Cowboys in the West
Saddle up for an authentic Western experience with Cowgirls and Cowboys in the West, a unique attraction offering horseback adventures through the majestic Palo Duro Canyon. What sets this experience apart is the leadership of skilled cowgirls. Guided by these trailblazers, you'll explore the breathtaking landscapes, rugged cliffs, and vibrant colors of one of America's most iconic canyons.
Palo Duro Creek Ranch
Immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of the Texas Panhandle with a thrilling Humvee tour at Palo Duro Creek Ranch, adding a unique adventure to your Amarillo itinerary. Traverse this expansive ranch's vast and scenic landscapes in a rugged Humvee, where experienced guides share tales of the region's rich history and diverse ecosystems.
Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum
Visit Texas’ largest history museum, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. PPHM is a treasure trove of Texas history, the museum’s expansive collection of artifacts, art, and memorabilia.
The Route 66 Historic District in Amarillo is a nostalgic journey into the past, offering a vibrant tapestry of Americana and a unique slice of roadside culture. Visitors can stroll down a mile-long stretch of art galleries, antique shops, restaurants, and bars. Make sure to mark your calendar for the annual Texas Route 66 Festival every June, a lively celebration that pays homage to the mother road.
The Big Texan
Welcome to The Big Texan, a true Route 66 icon and home to the legendary 72 oz steak challenge! Nestled in Amarillo, this iconic eatery is more than just a restaurant; it's a slice of Americana and a must-stop on any Route 66 journey.
The Big Texan is known for its larger-than-life offerings, with the 72 oz steak challenge taking center stage. Brave souls can test their appetite by attempting to conquer this colossal steak, complete with all the fixings. It's a feat that has become a rite of passage for roadtrippers along the mother road.
Beyond the challenge, The Big Texan embodies the spirit of Route 66 with its classic Western charm, hearty meals, and hospitality. So if you're craving a taste of Route 66 history and a chance to witness epic steak-eating endeavors, The Big Texan is a must-see.
Bill's Backyard Classics
Prepare to be transported to a world of automotive nostalgia at Bill's Backyard Classics, an absolute gem for vintage car enthusiasts near Amarillo. Tucked off the beaten path, this unique attraction is a haven for classic car aficionados and casual admirers. You’ll find a curated collection of classic automobiles that span decades. From iconic muscle cars to elegant vintage rides, each vehicle has a story to tell.
Heading from Amarillo, Texas, to Colorado marks the final stretch of your journey. Along this northern route, explore diverse activities like hiking in national parks and checking out historical sites. Each stop, from Palo Duro Canyon to the Garden of the Gods, offers a different taste of local life. Enjoy the changing scenery, capturing snapshots of the beauty along the way. Here are some must-see stops along the way from Amarillo to Denver.
Capulin Volcano, an ancient geological marvel, is a must-see stop on your journey from Amarillo to Denver. Rising from the flat plains of northeastern New Mexico, this dormant volcano showcases a perfectly preserved cinder cone. On the winding road to the volcano’s rim are panoramic views across multiple states. Delve into the region's natural history at the visitor center. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a scenic break, Capulin Volcano is a great stop on your journey to Denver.
Trinidad offers a wide range of experiences that cater to outdoor enthusiasts and culture aficionados alike. Whether it’s immersing yourself in the natural beauty of Trinidad Lake or the newly minted Fisher’s Peak State Park, enjoying shopping, or partaking in their many signature events, there’s truly something for everyone. Discover their notable landmarks, such as the historic Fox West Theatre, and over 140 original buildings, each boasting colossal architecture.
Colorado Springs, CO, and Beyond
- Royal Gorge
The Royal Gorge in Colorado stands as a must-see marvel. Carved by the Arkansas River, this deep and narrow canyon spans over a thousand feet, offering awe-inspiring views and heart-pounding experiences.
The iconic Royal Gorge Bridge, one of the world's highest suspension bridges, spans the canyon, providing a walk with panoramic vistas. The Royal Gorge Route Railroad offers a scenic and thrilling train ride through the canyon for those seeking an adrenaline rush. Adventure awaits at this natural wonder, making the Royal Gorge an essential and unforgettable stop on your road trip through Colorado.
- Garden of the Gods
As you journey from Amarillo to Colorado, a captivating stop to include in your itinerary is the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. The red rock formations, including the iconic Balanced Rock and Kissing Camels, create a surreal and mesmerizing setting against the backdrop of the Pikes Peak mountain range. Whether you're a casual observer or an avid hiker, the Garden of the Gods offers a diverse range of trails to explore, making it an accessible destination.
- Cave of the Winds Mountain Park
Cave of the Winds Mountain Park is a short drive from Colorado Springs. This stop offers a unique underground experience with guided cave tours that unveil the intricate beauty of subterranean formations. Explore winding caverns and all of the stalactites and stalagmites hidden beneath the surface.
- Broadmoor Seven Falls
Don’t miss the Broadmoor Seven Falls. This natural gem is a stunning cascading waterfall surrounded by lush greenery and rugged rock formations. Take a scenic hike through the canyon to witness the seven distinct waterfalls.
Beyond the falls, enjoy various outdoor activities such as zip-lining and bird-watching. The optional in-mountain elevator provides easy access to the Eagle’s Nest platform, offering panoramic views of the falls and surrounding landscape.
- Pikes Peak
Heading to Pikes Peak promises an unforgettable journey to the summit of one of America's most iconic mountains. Rising over 14,000 feet, Pikes Peak offers a panoramic spectacle of the Rocky Mountains.
Whether you drive the scenic Pikes Peak Highway or embark on the challenging, the journey is as exhilarating as the destination. At the summit, catch your breath while reveling in the breathtaking views that inspired Katharine Lee Bates to pen "America the Beautiful." Pikes Peak is a towering emblem of Colorado's natural beauty, and a visit is an essential chapter in any Rocky Mountain adventure.
- Manitou Springs
Nestled at the base of Pikes Peak, Manitou Springs is a charming and eclectic destination. Stroll through the historic downtown area, where you'll find unique boutiques, art galleries, and cozy cafes. Manitou Springs is renowned for its natural mineral springs, and visitors can explore the historic Manitou Springs Penny Arcade or take a leisurely walk along the charming streets lined with Victorian-era architecture.
The Manitou Incline offers outdoor enthusiasts a challenging but rewarding hike with panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. Additionally, the Manitou Cliff Dwellings provide a fascinating glimpse into the ancient Anasazi culture, with well-preserved cliffside structures to explore.
Don't miss the Manitou and Cog Railway or the scenic drive to the summit of Pikes Peak for breathtaking views of the region.
Celebrate the Memories from Texas to Colorado
Setting out on the road trip from Amarillo to Denver is like embarking on an adventure where the journey doesn't feel long. It's that magical kind of road trip where every mile brings you closer to amazing attractions. From the funky vibes of Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo to the breathtaking peaks of Colorado, it's not just a drive—it's a journey.
In Amarillo, the journey begins with iconic attractions that set the stage for an unforgettable road trip. Cadillac Ranch invites you to leave your mark on the vibrant, spray-painted Cadillacs, embodying the free spirit of Route 66. As you explore the historic Route 66 district, vintage shops, and the legendary Big Texan Steak Ranch provide a nostalgic taste of America's past.
Venturing into Colorado, the Garden of the Gods and the majestic Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs showcase the splendor of nature. Delve into the depths of the Earth at Cave of the Winds Mountain Park and witness the cascading beauty of Seven Falls in Broadmoor.
Manitou Springs adds a charming touch with its historic downtown, mineral springs, and ancient cliff dwellings. Whether you are seeking adventure, cultural exploration, or a scenic drive through the Rockies, this road trip promises unforgettable memories.
Ready to hit the road? Plan your own adventure and get ready for the beauty and diversity of the Texas to Colorado road trip. Pack your bags, map out your route, and start your journey today.