While it has come to be known as the Heart of Route 66 with a blossoming downtown foodie scene, its proud Texas heart still beats true. Pull on your favorite boots, straighten your hat, and get ready for an Old West experience.
The Panhandle’s straight line between heaven and earth melts into the canyon walls of Palo Duro Canyon. It’s time to prove you’re not a city slicker and explore the canyon like the Wild West settlers and the brave Comanche tribes before them did — on horseback. Beginners will enjoy Old West Stables’ one-hour rides, while more experienced riders will find their adventure on the posse rides down into the canyon at Cowgirls & Cowboys of the West. There’s a good chance you’ll fall in love with horseback riding after your visit, and if that’s the case (or you simply love equestrians), you’ll want to add Dove Creek Equine Rescue to your agenda. This haven for majestic yet unwanted horses teaches visitors responsible horse ownership practices and helps rehabilitate animals and people in need.
If you want to experience Palo Duro Canyon the way cowboys would have traveled it, if they had open-top Humvees, look no further than Palo Duro Creek Ranch. While the ranch offers horseback riding as well, their Jeep tours set them apart from other experiences. Rumble down carved paths and learn about the rich history of the canyon that makes it one of Texas’ prized treasures.
After your own horseback adventure, take a load off and enjoy watching some of the best riders in the world compete. Amarillo proudly hosts the WRCA World Championship Ranch Rodeo and the Coors Cowboy Club Ranch Rodeo. Don’t let them make you feel bad about your own riding performance; they’ve been training and competing for years. It just means you need to come back to Amarillo for more practice!
Have you ever watched professional riders in 1800s Western-style dress take to the saddle while simultaneously putting on a gun show? Well, you’re in luck! Amarillo’s Cowboy Mounted Shooting events are just as thrilling as they sound; these fast-paced shooting and riding competitions are free to watch and will leave you speechless.
The best feeling in the West is slipping on a boot that is sized, customized, and built just for you. If you’re expecting an Old West adventure, you’ll want to look the part. Beck Cowboy Boots has been making boots since 1926, and they’re not slowing down anytime soon with a beautiful showroom and wide collection of leathers for guests to choose from for their one-of-a-kind boots. Bustamante Cowboy Boots will not only create custom boots for you but also repair your old faithfuls or find you a pre-made boot to replace them.
Now that you have your top-of-the-line cowgirl or cowboy boots, you need a custom saddle to go with them. Head on over to Oliver Saddle Shop and design your saddle where some of the hardest working ranch hands and cattle drives in America had their saddles built. This workshop is filled with artisans that have made leatherworking into an art form.
Hundreds have tried to replicate it, but there’s only one Big Texan Steak Ranch & Brewery. With a gift shop filled with souvenirs you can’t help but take home, an arcade featuring vintage games, and of course, the 72 oz Steak Challenge — this Texas treasure is everything you’ve been told and more. Belly up to the saloon bar, taste some house brews in the spacious beer garden, or enjoy a delicious meal with your loved ones in one of the country’s most iconic steakhouses.
A lone horseman stands high overhead atop the canyon; the flag of the Lone Star State he’s holding catches the wind. The music suddenly swells as he rides off into the softening dusk, and TEXAS Outdoor Musical begins. This musical recreation of the history of Texas, the celebration of its people, and the beautiful Palo Duro Canyon in which the theater is located has been proudly performed for nearly 60 years.
You can’t tell the story of Texas, or the entire West, without talking about Charles Goodnight. This famous rancher’s home has been recreated as Charles Goodnight Historical Center. Visitors can learn about the history of Texas ranching and the Goodnight ranching empire that launched the 6666 Ranch (made famous by Paramount’s Yellowstone series.) Expand your learning at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. With a mixture of art, history, and science exhibits highlighting this unique region, there’s sure to be something to pique any visitor’s attention.
Fans of horse racing and equestrians alike will love a tour through the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum. This beautiful center pays tribute to the horses that shaped America, tracking lineages back for generations.
Amarillo stands as a shining example of the treasures that lay just off the American highway. Here you can find all the New West flavors, ideas, and creators continuing to push our horizons forward while experiencing the soul of the Old West in the same destination. Connect with this wild landscape filled with stories from the past; ride into a Texas sunset and start writing a Western adventure story of your own. It all begins in Amarillo, where Old West meets New West.