Wonderland Amusement Park

Sixty years young, Wonderland Amusement Park is an ideal place for a family to relax and have fun for a reasonable price.

Voted the 2009 Park of the Year by Amusement Today, Wonderland is home to the Texas Tornado, one of the top-rated, double-loop steel roller coasters in the nation, and to over 60 rides, attractions and miniature golf.

Open weekends April through Labor Day and open weeknights from June 1 through the start of school in August, it is all summed up in one word, WOW!

Check the Wonderland web site for precise pricing information and exact hours of operation.

2601 Dumas Drive
Amarillo, TX 79107
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Big Texan Steak Ranch

The Big Texan feeds almost half a million people each year from all over the world. It has been featured in countless TV shows, movies, magazines, and newspapers throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia. Countless movies and sit-coms have featured or parodied the World Famous FREE 72-oz. steak dinner (if eaten in 1 hour).

The Big Texan Steak Ranch has received many honors such as being named to MAXIM Magazine’s list of Top 10 Steak Houses in America! Our steaks are carefully aged for maximum flavor, and the aroma from the grill will have your mouth watering as soon as you enter our huge dining room.

A Texas Legend Begins:
R. J. “Bob” Lee, a Midwesterner, whose family roots went back to the four-star Savoy Grill in Kansas City, grew up on stories and movies about cowboys, Indians, horses and Texas cattle ranches. The Texas mystique drew him like a lodestone. When he made his way to the Texas Panhandle and to Amarillo with his wife Mary Ann and their growing family, it didn’t take long for him to embrace the Lone Star State and to claim its persona as his own. His only disappointment was that he couldn’t find a first-class Texas-style steakhouse in an area of the country best known for cowboys and cattle.

In true Texas spirit, Bob decided to create a place that would satisfy the world’s hunger for good steaks and the ambiance of the Old West. He had no idea in those early days that he was destined to become a part of the Texas legends and lore that he loved.

In 1960, R. J. “Bob” Lee opened The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo on Route 66, the “Mother Road”. Its distinctive architecture soon became recognized across the Mother Road as a good stopping place for great steaks grilled over an open flame.

Texas Panhandle

The Texas Panhandle is a region of the U.S. state of Texas consisting of the northernmost 26 counties in the state. The panhandle is a rectangular area bordered by New Mexico to the west and Oklahoma to the north and east. The Handbook of Texas defines the southern border of Swisher County to be the southern boundary of the Texas Panhandle region, though some consider the region to extend as far south as Lubbock County. The Texas Panhandle Press Association accepts members in the actual panhandle and a triangle formed by its southern tier, the southeastern border of New Mexico and a diagonal to the beginning, which includes Lubbock County.

Its land area is 66,883.58 km² (25,823.9 sq mi), or nearly 10 percent of the state’s total. There is an additional 162.53 km² (62.75 sq mi) of water area. Its population as of the 2010 census was 427,927 residents, or 1.7 percent of the state’s total population. As of the 2010 census, this would put the average population density for the region at 16.6 persons/sq mi. The Panhandle is distinct from North Texas, which is farther southeast.

West of the Caprock Escarpment and north and south of the Canadian River breaks, the surface of the Llano Estacado is rather flat. South of the city of Amarillo, the level terrain gives way to Palo Duro Canyon, the second largest canyon in the United States. This colorful canyon was carved by the Prairie Dog Town Fork Red River. North of Amarillo lies Lake Meredith, a reservoir created by Sanford Dam on the Canadian River. The lake, along with the Ogallala Aquifer, provides drinking water and irrigation for this moderately dry area of the high plains.
Interstate Highway 40 passes through the panhandle, and also passes through Amarillo. The highway passes through Deaf Smith, Oldham, Potter, Carson, Gray, Donley, and Wheeler Counties.

The Texas Panhandle has been identified as one of the fastest-growing wind-power-producing regions in the nation over the past decade because of its strong, steady winds.

Hiking in State Park

Popular Day Hikes in Palo Duro Canyon
While you’re here, you may want to check out some of the popular day hikes in Palo Duro Canyon:
Lighthouse Trail. The most popular day hike in the park, where you can see the famous Lighthouse Rock. It is a 6 mile round-trip hike.
Givens, Spicer & Lowry Running Trail. This is the longest trail in the park at 11 miles RT that passes through the badlands and various parts of the canyon.
Paseo Del Rio. An easy 2 mile RT hike along the Red River.

Be sure to watch out for snakes and flash floods, and always take a lot of water! Have a great time exploring Palo Duro Canyon.

KNOW YOUR LIMITS: Prepare for sun and heat. Wear sunscreen, insect repellent and appropriate clothing/hiking shoes.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER: Your body loses fluid quickly when you’re on the trail. Bring at least one quart of water per person per mile.
TELL OTHERS WHERE YOU’LL BE: If possible, avoid exploring alone. Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return.
WEAR A HELMET: When mountain biking, check with park HQ to match the trail to your skill level. Wear a helmet to protect yourself in case of a crash.
POTENTIALLY HARMFUL PLANTS AND ANIMALS LIVE HERE: Staying on the trail makes them easier to see.
WEATHER CHANGES QUICKLY: Check forecasts before you leave and prepare for unexpected changes in the weather.
TRAIL ETIQUETTE: Trash your trash. Keep the park natural. Pack out all of your trash and Leave No Trace.

Horseback Riding

Horses and horseback riding have been a part of Palo Duro Canyon’s history since the days of the Apaches, Kiowa’s, Comanche’s, and Cheyenne’s. However, you shouldn’t expect your ride to be as daring as some of their undoubtedly were, we expect that you’ll want to make your own horseback riding history when you visit Palo Duro Canyon.

If you are a horse lover, history buff, or just want to have an incredible experience of a lifetime – this is your place! Not your typical nose to tail ride – but an authentic ride with Cowboys and Cowgirls, across our thousands of acres of Texas Land! Cowgirls and Cowboys In The West are also conveniently located for travelers who are traveling Route 66 and I-40.

  • They ride daily at beautiful Los Cedros Ranch- located on the rim of breathtaking Palo Duro Canyon- site of game-changing, historical events of the Old West.
  • The staff of Cowboys and Cowgirls are highly knowledgeable and experienced – they are the real deal!
  • Their ranch offers stunning views and a variety of terrains and skills for every rider’s experience level.
  • Their horses are American Quarter Horses and working cattle horses, well-mannered & healthy!
  • Their horse tack and other equipment is of the highest quality. Most are custom made Oliver’s Saddles*. (*Oliver’s Saddle Shop is located in Amarillo, Texas and is the oldest family owned saddlery in Texas -and that’s good!)

They are mindful of area temperatures, and offer riding experiences year round – weather permitting, of course. They know when temperatures are safe and comfortable for riding. Their Palo Duro Canyon ranch offers a variety of terrains and wind breaks that provide protection – even on windy days. So don’t worry – if you want to ride, they will select a time and day for you to ride!

Click here to learn more about Cowgirls and Cowboys in the West and make a reservation

Golf Courses

Most people don’t immediately think of the Texas Panhandle when planning their next golf vacation. But with colorful sunsets, wide open spaces and 11 courses in the area to choose from, Amarillo/Canyon can satisfy a golfer’s needs. Here are a few of Doves Rest Cabins guest favorite picks:

Comanche Trail Golf Course – Arrowhead & Tomahawk Course
Fantastic 18 hole regulation courses located at the Comanche Trail Golf Course facility in Amarillo
4200 S Grand St, Amarillo, TX 79103
(806) 378-4281
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La Paloma Golf Club
From the longest tees it offers 6,676 yards of golf for a par of 72
4502 Fairway Dr, Amarillo, TX 79124
(806) 342-3051
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Palo Duro Creek Golf Club
Exciting 18 hole regulation course with longest tees it presents 6,865 yards of golf for a par of 72
50 Country Club Dr, Canyon, TX 79015
(806) 655-1106
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Tascosa Country Club
From the longest tees it offers 6,492 yards of golf for a par of 72
4502 Fairway Dr, Amarillo, TX 79124
(806) 342-3051
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Mountain Biking in Palo Duro

IMPORTANT NOTE: Doves Rest Resorts does NOT rent bikes. Please contact Palo Duro Canyon Outfitters & Bike Co. in Canyon for any bike rental inquiries. They are located at 1601 4th Ave, Canyon, TX 79015 (Phone: (806) 476-4455)

Palo Duro Canyon State Park is a sight to be seen to fully appreciate, as pictures do not do it justice. Better yet, Palo Duro is a place to be biked to fully appreciate. There are three trails designed to be biked: Givens, Spicer & Lowry Running Trail (GSL, for short), Lighthouse Trail, and Capitol Peak Mountain Bike Trail. Other than on Capitol Peak, hikers may be encountered along the way so be careful, especially on Lighthouse Trail.

GSL is definitely the most fun of the three trails, though it may present a few difficult sections for novice riders. Don’t let that steer you away from riding it, however, as it’s the most scenic of the three trails and thanks to the traction of its red dirt, is a blast to ride. GSL probably rates no more than a 2 over-all, but does have a few moments where it strives to be a 3. It’s not overly difficult, but features some interesting sections with drop offs and such along its red dirt pathway.

Lighthouse Trail is a wide path mainly designed for hiking to the Lighthouse, probably the best known attraction to Palo Duro Canyon. Since it’s mostly a wide path there are very few real difficult climbs or drops, those that are really steep have an alternate route offering a bypass for bikes. On the way back, however, it’s totally your choice if you wish to take the drops down. Half way out to the Lighthouse tends to get a bit sandier and loose – more reason to keep both hands on your handlebars. You can’t reach the Lighthouse directly from the trail, so if you wish to make the climb to the lighthouse, bring a lock to secure your bike to the bike rack at the end of the trail. You won’t be able to take your bike up to the lighthouse as the “stairs” are VERY steep.

Capital Peak starts out with a slight climb along a wide path, but after that is pretty much all single-track. Opportunities pop up here and there to catch air, but the trail also provides a bypass if you prefer not to have both wheels in the air. Watch for the prickly pear populations on the sides of the trail and the occasional piece laying on the trail. Again, the red dirt of Palo Duro Canyon makes for excellent traction, so feel free to rip through the turns. Watch, however, on some of the turns as a few of them are a bit sandy. There is a spot or two that’s somewhat eroded, not from bikes, but from natural causes, so watch those pedals. An occasional quick climb pops up here and there that just as quickly become short descents. The trails layout is shaped similar to a figure 8 and measures about 3-3.5 miles; however, a few rogue trails seem to be around every few corners. I’d suggest sticking with the main trail. All things considered, Capitol Peak is probably no more than a level 2 trail.

Little Fox Run Canyon Trail is a loop at the end of GSL, so really it’s nothing more than an extension of GSL. It’s pure single-track that is smooth and winding with a few spots that are real sandy, so watch your speed on these turns. Unlike the majority of the other trails, Little Fox Run is pretty much shaded. Perhaps this shade is the reason that all the hungry horse flies seem to congregate along this route.

One of the great things about Palo Duro’s trails is that although each is its own individual trail, they are all interconnected so you only need to park once in order to ride all three. Cottonwood Flats connects GSL and Lighthouse trail, while Lighthouse Trail and Capitol Peak are actually connected. Juniper Trail is another trail that links the main trails, taking you from the Lighthouse Trail parking area to the Capitol Peak trailhead.

The views at Palo Duro Canyon are spectacular with the various peaks and cliffs, and the different layers of rock are amazing to see. Staying at Doves Rest Cabin, this makes a memorable weekend getaway.

Texas Outdoor Musical

The Official Play of Texas – Seen by over four Million people!

TEXAS runs Tuesdays through Sundays in the summer at the Pioneer Amphitheater in the park. Watch the stories, struggles and triumphs of early settlers. The family-friendly show has singing, dancing, fireworks and lots of Texas humor – Come early for a barbecue dinner in the covered patio!

A LONE HORSEMAN, carrying the flag of the great state of Texas appears atop a 600 foot cliff, signaling the beginning of the most spectacular outdoor musical drama in the world. With a moving swell of the music, the horseman gallops away. Suddenly, a cast of more than 60 actors, singers and dancers takes the stage to kick off the show that millions of fans from all around the world have come to see. Only a state as big as Texas could host a show as big as TEXAS!

THE BEAUTIFUL PIONEER AMPHITHEATRE, carved out of and nestled into a natural basin in the majestic Palo Duro Canyon-the nation’s second largest canyon-comes alive once again this summer with the 50th Anniversary Season of the Official Play of the State of Texas.

IN THIS FAMILY-FRIENDLY SHOW, set against an authentic tapestry of history, the show’s fictional characters bring to life the stories, struggles and triumphs of the settlers of the Texas Panhandle in the 1800’s. Song and dance abound-and a generous helping of good ol’ Texas humor too-with spellbinding lighting, special fire and water effects, including the Dancing Waters of TEXAS! And nightly fireworks highlight the Grand Finale.

For tickets, call the box office at (806) 655-2181 or visit the TEXAS website.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Palo Duro Canyon State Park opened on July 4, 1934 and contains 29,182 acres of the scenic, northern most portion of the Palo Duro Canyon. The Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930’s constructed most of the buildings and roads still in use by park staff and visitors.

The Canyon is 120 miles long, as much as 20 miles wide, and has a maximum depth of more than 800 feet. Its elevation at the rim is 3,500 feet above sea level. It is often claimed that Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the United States. The largest, the Grand Canyon, is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and 6,000 ft. deep.

Palo Duro Canyon was formed by water erosion from the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River. The water deepens the canyon by moving sediment downstream. Wind and water erosion gradually widen the canyon.

Early Spanish Explorers are believed to have discovered the area and dubbed the canyon “Palo Duro” which is Spanish for “hard wood” in reference to the abundant mesquite and juniper trees.

Humans have resided in the canyon for approximately 12,000 years. Early settlers were nomadic tribes that hunted mammoth, giant bison, and other large game animals. Later, Apache Indians lived in the canyon, but were soon replaced by Comanche and Kiowa tribes who resided in the area until 1874. At that time, Col. Ranald Mackenzie was sent into the area to transport the Native Americans to Oklahoma. Col. Mackenzie and the 4th Cavalry were able to capture more than 1,400 horses belonging to the tribe. After keeping some of the best horses for themselves, the remainder were taken to nearby Tule Canyon and destroyed. Cut off from their only means of transportation, the Native Americans soon surrendered.

In 1876, Charles Goodnight entered the canyon and opened the JA Ranch. At its peak, the ranch supported more than 100,000 head of cattle. Goodnight operated the ranch until 1890. Although only a fraction of its original size, the JA Ranch remains a working ranch today.