This huge steel cross is 190 feet tall and can be seen up to 20 miles away. It lights up at night and is located on the side of I-40 in Groom, TX, approximately 40miles east of Amarillo. It is known as the largest cross in the Western Hemisphere.
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This is a wonderful terrain located about 30 miles south of US 40 highway. There is a road that goes in a circle for 10-12 miles around the canyon valley. Along the route are hiking trails, of which one is moderately difficult and the others are easy. The most difficult is Lighthouse trail and is 6 miles round trip. Also available are horse rides, cabins to rent for $110, and camping for $24 a nite. The scenery is very nice, and the canyon is surrounded by a rim of mesa hills standind at 300-400 feet.
This is the most difficult trail and it is 6 miles round trip. Many people attempt to get to the top at 400 feet, but the last leg of the climb is too much for the average person; a lot of rock/boulders to get over and steep path.
Head up north of Amarillo to a town called Fritch... (check your maps boys and girls). Of course while you're there you can drive around Lake Meredith and look for the regionally famous herd of buffalo along the way, but if you want to see an archeological site dating back to the earliest days of man, check out the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument.
This is a site where flint outcroppings were '...utilized for the manufacture of chipped-stone tools from the time that man first inhabited the Southern High Plains, beginning with the Clovis cultures of about 10,000 years ago...' (from the Handbook of Texas Online.)
It's WAY off the beaten path but certainly worth the detour time.
17 miles NE of Stinnet, TX is the site of Adobe Walls - a major historical landmark in the Panhandle region.
There were two battles with regional tribes at Adobe Walls, the first on November 25th, 1864 included Kit Carson in its company, but it was the second that made the name 'Adobe Walls' a fixture in Panhandle History
In the 1870's, white hunters in the mid and northern plains had wiped out the monstrous herds of roving buffalo - something I always half felt our government had instigated and maybe even encouraged. As go the buffalo, so go the Plains Indian tribes... After the decimation of the primary herds, the buffalo hunters moved south and west into land previously set aside for the southern plains Indians (primarily Kwahadi and Kiowa).
Where there's people, there will be settlements; in June of 1874, there was a small settlement near the site of the old trading post (~1845) to service the needs of the buffalo hunters with some 28 or 29 people in taking up residence there.
Quanah and his band had been led by their medicine man Isatai (Coyote Droppings) to believe that the white man's bullets would not harm them and had been wreaking havoc on any hunters they found along their way. At dawn on June 27th, 1874, Quanah's band swept across the plains, intent on erasing the existence of Adobe Walls.
The initial attack almost carried the day; the Indians were in close enough to pound on the doors and windows of the buildings with their rifle butts, but the majority of the settlers had managed to take cover and began to return fire. The lack of total surprise infuriated Quanah, and the Indians rode out of range trying to decide how to handle the situation.
The second day after the initial attack, Billy Dixon, already renowned as a crack shot, took aim with a 'Big Fifty' Sharps and cleanly dropped a warrior from atop his horse nearly a mile away. The Indians completely lost faith in the medicine of Isatai, who claimed that his medicine had been ruined by warriors along the way who killed a skunk against his express warnings.... but the result was the same as the attackers melted back into the endless expanse of the LLano Estacado. Quanah Parker and his band would lead US Army troops all over the Panhandle for another three years before finally submitting to reservation life in Oklahoma.
Not much remains, but directions on how to get there can be found at Borger's Website for the insatiable history buff.
One place most people probably don't see when traveling to Amarillo is Cal Farley's Boys Ranch. It is located 36 miles northwest of Amarillo off Highway 385. Boys Ranch is a children's home that has been in existence since 1939. It is built on the site of the wild west town called Old Tascosa. Old Tascosa was the county seat of Oldham County in the late 1800's, and the original courthouse serves as a small but nice museum. Boys Ranch is well worth the 30-40 minute drive. You can get a guided tour from one of the resident children, and there is plenty to see. Boys Ranch is set in a beautiful 'oasis' of very tall cottonwood trees along the valley of the Canadian River. It is truly a place that must be seen to be believed.
The Don Harrington Discovery Center is a great place for kids and those adults who are young at heart. My wife and I went there a few years ago when they were having an exhibit about Dinosaurs with life size animated dinosaurs. It was a lot of fun but I believe that the dinosaur exhibit has moved on to a new museum now. Even so there is a lot to see and do. There are some neat hands on science exhibits there and an aquarium. The Discovery Center is located at 1200 Streit Drive.
The Amarillo Livestock Auction is world famous and happens every Tuesday. You don't have to be a cattle buyer to enjoy a few minutes of listening to the auctioneers. In my opinion the greatest auctioneer they have ever had there is my uncle, Jack Howell. The auction is at 100 Manhattan close to the railroad and cattle pens. They have a nice place to eat there as well. A cattle auction may not sound like some thing for tourists but you might find it more interesting than you realize.
Many of the places to see in Amarillo are closed on Mondays. The Amarillo Zoo is one of them. If you are planning to spend time in Amarillo suggest you come on Tuesday to start your visit. The zoo is a not large but it is free and is in Thompson Park. Thompson Park is on highway 287. During Summer months there is an amusement park and putt putt golf course there as well as the zoo.
I like to go bird watching a little bit. One place to go bird watching is Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge about 30 miles south east from Amarillo near Umbarger, TX on US 60. I saw a prairie dog town, deer, wild turkeys, and quite a few species of birds there.
One thing I did not see was Buffalo lake. The lake was almost dried up when I was there because the water table had dropped. There are also a number of playa lakes visible from the highways that will often have waterfowl around them if there has been enough rain to fill them up.
In Texas there are signs like this all over the state to indicate good areas for viewing wildlife.
The Helium Monument looks like a kind of statue made of tall polished pipes six stories tall. I did not understand the purpose of it at first. It is located near a place we parked our car to visit the Discovery Center. I thought the monument was to pay a tribute to a time when helium was an important resource in this part of Texas. I was wrong about that. The monument is a giant time capsule. It is filled with things that are preserved inside of it to be opened by the citizens of Amarillo many years in the future. I wonder what they will find inside of it? Wonder what they will think when they open it?
historical route 66 runs right through old town of Amarillo.
This area has been renovated by communtiy dollars and interest to conserve route 66 history. Almost of all the shops on this street (6th) are antiques, craft shops and galleries. We also have our own art colony called Las Tiendas which is off Route 66 near the hospital district. Some local artist renovated an old motel to house different
artist and their work. Each rent a room of the old motel as
office and studio to work and display their talents. In the middle of this motel is a beautiful coutyard to sit and enjoy.
AMARILLO. Are you famished? Well, if you finish the 72oz steak at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in less than an hour, it's for free.
Try to go to a Rodeo in or around Amarillo. 4th of July is a good time, also try the Tri-State Fair in September. The cowboys in and around Amarillo are the read deal - a must see for tourist.