Texas Panhandle (Breathtaking Storming Place)

Situated at the northernmost tip of Texas, Panhandle is a region of Texas typified by its odd, protrusive, rectangular shape. The rest of Texas spreads out underneath it like the bottom of a pan, giving it its funny name.

Whether you’re looking for a fun outdoor trip or want to explore the lesser-known northern region of Texas, here are some basic facts and all the info you need to visit the Texas Panhandle.

Texas Panhandle Storm - Texas View
Texas Panhandle Storm - Texas View

About the Panhandle Region

The Panhandle region of Texas is slightly larger than the entire state of West Virginia. New Mexico and Oklahoma border it. It’s right next to the Oklahoma panhandle!

Facts About Panhandle Texas

  • Region: High Plains
  • County: 26 Counties including Hutchinson, Oldham, and Carson
  • City: Major cities of the Panhandle region are Amarillo, Canyon, Hereford, Borger, Dumas, and Pampa
  • Land Area: 25,823.89 sq mi
  • Zipcodes: 79068
  • Population (2020): 434, 358
  • Average Temperature in June: 32 to 16℃
  • Average Temperature in January: 10 to 6℃
  • Universities: Texas Tech University, West Texas A&M University, Clarendon College, Amarillo College
  • Airports:  Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport, Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport

What’s Panhandle Known For?

The Panhandle climate is classified as semi-arid. Because of that, there are fascinating natural formations and outdoor areas to explore. The region is best known for its namesake Panhandle Plains. There are several state parks perfect for exploring the great outdoors.

  • A tributary of the Red River shaped the grandiose Palo Duro Canyon. It yielded the great sandstone cliffs that drop off from the great plains.
  • If you’re a fan of rock and roll, you have to see the Buddy Holly Center
  • Although Woody Guthrie was born and raised in Oklahoma, he also lived in Pampa for a time. You can find the Woody Guthrie Folk Music Center right in Pampa, Texas.
  • At the top of the Panhandle, you’ll find Route 66 cuts right through it. Amarillo City, the Panhandle’s largest, is a stop along the road.

People From The Panhandle Region

  • Buddy Holly – Charles Hardin Holley was born and raised in Lubbock City. He’s a singer-songwriter known for being the pioneer of 1950s rock and roll.
  • Cyd Charisse – Tula Ellice Finklea was born and raised in Amarillo City. She’s best known as a dancer and actress in iconic Golden-Age films like Singin’ in the Rain (1952), Silk Stockings (1957), and Brigadoon(1954).
  • Ron Ely – Ely is also an Amarillo native. He’s best known as an actor. His most notable role is acting as the titular Tarzan on TV in the 1960s.
Texas Panhandle Captured By A Driver - Texas View
Texas Panhandle Captured by a driver – Photo by GerritR

What To Do in the Texas Panhandle

There are so many historical, cultural, and jaw-dropping natural landmarks for you to explore! Here are some of the most popular stops you can see when exploring the Panhandle region.

Road Trip on Route 66

The famous Route 66 can take you straight through the Texas Panhandle. You can power through it in one day or spend some time in Amarillo before going forward.

Amarillo sits right about the center of the Texas Panhandle route. In honor of the iconic highway, there’s a special Route 66 district in Amarillo you can explore amazing shops and cultural landmarks.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Otherwise known as the “Grand Canyon of Texas”, it is the second-largest canyon formation in the entire country.

You can explore it through hiking, bike trails, horseback, or by car. There’s also luxury camping and a Texas outdoor musical in the park. If you’re worried about exploring alone, don’t worry: there are guided horseback tours and wagon rides.

Copper Breaks State Park

Located in Hardeman County near Quanah City, the Copper Breaks State Park may be smaller but is just as beautiful. You can not only fish in Lake Copper Breaks and do the usual hiking and trails, but the Copper Breaks Park is also an official International Dark Sky Park.

Besides that, Copper Breaks has the official Texas Longhorn herd. You can find them in the southern pastures, near the entrance.

East of the park, you can find hills called Medicine Mounds, a ceremonial and religious site for the Comanches. The mounds are private property so it’s best you see them on the highway or the nearby Medicine Mound town.

Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway

The Caprock Canyons spread along the Caprock Escarpment. They’re known for the dramatic red rocks that overhang or “cap” softer stone underneath. It makes for a great picture, especially during sunset. You can also admire the bison herds and bats that populate the park.

The Cadillac Ranch Art Installation

This colorful ranch full of Cadillac models is just a little west of Amarillo. The fun and freeing thing is, you can bring a can of spray paint and add to the art.

Where to Eat?

  • Big Texan Steak Ranch – This restaurant is notorious for its 72-ounce steak challenge. You’ll find this place along the iconic Route 66.
  • Youngblood’s Stockyard Cafe – This cheap restaurant is delicious and fulfilling. More than that, it’s inside a landmark building as it once housed the livestock auction house for the Amarillo stockyards.
  • You’ll find everyone’s favorite barbecue restaurant in Evie Mae’s Pit Barbecue – South in Lubbock County. You’ll find them open as long as they have meat in Wolfforth Town.

Texas Panhandle FAQs

Is the Panhandle a good place to live?

The Texas Panhandle is one of the best places to live in, especially if you want a rural setting. The real estate isn’t right through the roof, unlike the more metropolitan cities. Young professionals can own their homes in the Panhandle.

Is the Texas Panhandle safe?

The crime rate in the Texas Panhandle is lower than the state average.

Is the Texas Panhandle worth visiting?

Although some may rank the Texas Panhandle a little lower in the extensive list of American panhandles, the Texas Panhandle is well worth a visit for its historicity, quirky landmarks, festivals, and a healthy dose of Americana!

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