Destinations,  Texas,  United States

Amarillo – Canyon – Palo Duro Long Weekend

I never had much desire to be honest in visiting Amarillo and let alone the city of Canyon until I started researching a weekend hiking trip to Palo Duro.

Palo Duro State Park came into my mind after some conversations with my coworker who is also an outdoor enthusiasts and told me her husband was running a race out in the park. After finally getting a chance to look into the park I realized I couldn’t skip visiting the second largest canyon in the U.S. that was right in my backyard. Ok maybe not in my backyard but just 5 hours way, who could pass that up!

After many weeks of saying I would go, I convinced my girlfriend to come take a trip with me and visit Palo Duro and spend a weekend out in Amarillo. Originally we planned to stay in Amarillo but realized after searching the park that the closest place to stay would in the city of Canyon, TX. Canyon is a very short drive from Amarillo so it turned into the perfect homebase for our weekend outing.

The entire drive from Dallas-Fort Worth out to Amarillo/Canyon is roughly 5-6 hours depending how many pit stops you make long the way. This entire trip is honestly very doable if you have a full weekend to do it and you will honestly not miss anything. We ended up leaving work early on Friday and hitting the road around 1pm-2pm.

The first day was mostly spent driving out to Amarillo/Canyon to head to our AirBnB which was located in Canyon, TX just about 15-20min from the park entrance. The drive out there is mostly a whole lot of nothing but if you have a good travel partner it can be entertaining. If you are like me, I love stopping at small old America towns along the way since there is just something that captivates my imagination out there.

Once we arrived at our AirBnB in Canyon, we got our keys and setup before heading out to dinner. At this point it was rather late in the evening and we where quite hungry to put it lightly. We had been given the recommendation by a friend to grab dinner at The Coyote Bluff Cafe in Amarillo. I cannot recommend this place enough, the service was amazing and the food was all we could ask for. It is a small hole in the wall restaurant serving some great steaks and cold beer, honestly what else could you ask for.

The plan the next day was to head straight to Palo Duro so we stopped at the local Walmart before heading back to the AirBnB to stock up on hiking snacks, water and some toiletries we had forgotten at home. I always recommend to go to bed with all your hiking supplies ready to go so not to waste time in the morning.

Saturday we would primarily spend at Palo Duro State Park enjoying some great hikes and some amazing views off the canyon rim.

Stay tuned for more in-depth review on the park and my favorite made up loop in the park. This covers how I would spend a full day in the park to make sure you do not miss a thing if you are on a tight schedule.

Saturday evening was spent recovering from a long day of hiking and getting ready to try a much recommended restaurant.

There is no way to go to Amarillo and not eat at The Big Texan! You might have heard of this restaurant before as they are the original 72oz steak challenge and are advertised all over the Texas Panhandle.

To be completely honest the food was not the best I have ever had but the experience is unbeatable. You get to enjoy seeing people try and eat a 72oz steak on stage within an hour and the entire atmosphere of the restaurant is one of a kind. They even have a motel attached to the restaurant which I think could be quite an experience to stay at.

Sunday we decided to sleep in a bit then head out to visit Cadillac Ranch before heading back to DFW.

You can stay tuned for an in-depth review on Cadillac Ranch and what to expect.

We ended up driving around Canyon and Amarillo looking for a coffee shop and stumbled upon Palace Coffee which if you like good coffee you must stop by.

On our way out of town after Cadillac Ranch we ended up grabbing lunch at an original Route 66 restaurant which is probably the best burger I have had in quite some time!

The restaurant has been open since 1946 serving good food cooked slow and the burgers are worth the wait. These are not your new “fancy” burgers but good ole meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato style burgers and that is all I want. Just make sure not to order individual fries since let me tell you we couldn’t finish one order between two of us.

Overall if you like hiking and happen to live near to Amarillo I would highly recommend taking a weekend trip out to see the Texas Panhandle. It is definitely a bit out of the way but you get to see a part of the U.S. that very few people ever do. In my mind half the fun is exploring places that most people will never get to see.

If you want to check out my Palo Duro Park post Click Here!

If you want to check out my Cadillac Ranch post Click Here!

Have you ever been out to Palo Duro or Amarillo? If so what did you like or do that I didn’t mention?

Follow along the adventures on:

Instagram @gusontherun or Twitter @gusontherun


  • wanderersofthekingdom

    This looks like a fun trip! Are those cars standing up out of the water??! The more I see of the US, the more I want to visit the lesser known places. So many cool things to do and places to go… keep ’em coming! 😉

    • Gus

      Yup!!! It was actually an art installation put in a while back by the property owner to commemorate Route 66 one of the original roads heading out West.

      There are so many road trips to do in the U.S. besides the major cities, that is what I always tell people.

  • Emma

    I love that your hiking supplies include a bottle of wine. That’s my kind of hiking! I heard about Palo Duro recently and the more I hear the more interested I am in seeing it. But knowing there’s a place to spend the night before that seems fun makes it even more appealing…Cadillac Ranch included.

    • Gus

      I mean what would a trip without wine be…LOL

      But highly recommend the area great places to eat and drink, plus plenty of great AirBnBs nearby!

  • The.Holidaymaker / Renee

    What an adventure! I’d almost guess you were really there for the food and the hiking was a bonus! Wasn’t there a Chevy Chase movie with that exact scenario – eating an enormous quantity of meat and your dinner is on the house! I’m guessing you weren’t up for the challenge. Great road trip ideas!

  • Steph / A Nomads Passport

    What are 5 hours when they are the only obstacle between you and an amazing trip like this one? I’d say nothing but a short drive. Your trip sounds like it was a perfect combination of a foodie and a hiking trip!

  • Riana.AngCanning

    What a cool spot! I haven’t heard of Palo Duro but it looks like fun. Watching people try that massive steak and seeing those cadillacs would be so cool. Also, I definitely love that Poptarts are part of your hiking snacks!

  • Brooklyn

    This looks so cool! I’m a huge car fan, so I love seeing those cars sticking out of the water. And I love how it’s only 5 hours away for you. I love exploring close to home!

  • Sarah

    Wow, I’d heard of Amarillo from the song about it but didn’t know anything about it at all. Looks like an interesting place to visit if you’re in Texas. I can’t believe people eat 72oz steaks, I love steak but there’s no way I’d be able to eat that much!

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