7 Cool National + State Parks Near Amarillo, TX

The biggest city in the Texas Panhandle may be known above all else these days for its location on Route 66, but for those who stop and stay for a while, you’ll find plenty of state parks near Amarillo that make excellent day trips, and even a couple of national parks (of a fashion, anyway) to check out!

Looking for cool national and state parks close to Amarillo?

Here’s where to look!

We’ve stuck with parks within a couple of hours of the city for this guide, to ensure that you can visit as a day trip from Amarillo.

kate storm hiking in palo duro canyon, one of the tx state parks close to amarillo tx

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Texas State Parks Near Amarillo, Texas

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Nicknamed the Grand Canyon of Texas, Palo Duro Canyon just might be one of the coolest TX state parks out there–and it’s located practically next door to Amarillo!

There are plenty of hikes and overlooks to choose from, but be sure to prioritize hiking to the lighthouse formation!

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The trail is scorching and can be a bit grueling, especially during the final ascent, but the payoff is absolutely worth it.

Driving Distance from Amarillo

30 minutes.

lighthouse formation in palo duro canyon on a sunny day

Caprock Canyons State Park + Trailway

With nearly 90 miles worth of trails and plenty of beautiful, rugged scenery, Caprock Canyons State Park has long been a favorite among Texas hikers.

You’ll also find the official Texas Bison Herd living in this park–and may even be caught up in a bison traffic jam if they choose to cross the road in front of you.

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The popular Tunnel Trail, which takes place partially in an abandoned railroad tunnel, is also nearby, though not located inside this state park close to Amarillo.

Driving Distance from Amarillo

1 hour, 40 minutes.

group of bison in caprock canyons state park texas

Copper Breaks State Park

Whether you want to hike, fish, swim, go boating, or beyond, there’s something fun to do at Copper Breaks State Park!

This popular state park near Amarillo is one of the most beloved in the region.

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Beyond the usual state park attractions, Copper Breaks State Park is also an International Dark Sky Park, and is known for its phenomenal stargazing!

You’ll also see some classic Texas cattle here: some members of the official State of Texas Longhorn Herd live at the park.

Driving Distance from Amarillo

2 hours, 25 minutes.

Group of longhorns on a grassy field in Texas

National Parks Near Amarillo

While Texas’ two official national parks–Big Bend National Park and Guadalupe Mountains National Park–are quite a drive away from Amarillo, there are several other federally managed lands in the Texas Panhandle Plains that make great places to visit!

Here’s where to head if you’re looking for national parks close to Amarillo.

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Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument

Sought after by humans for more than 13,000 years, the flint located in Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument was once vital to the survival of many people.

This is one of the most unique places to visit in Amarillo, and a great opportunity to learn about the history of the region.

Join a Ranger-led hike to dive deep into the history of the area, or simply enjoy the beautiful views!

Driving Distance from Amarillo

40 minutes.

Alibates Flint National Monument in the Texas panhandle with a quarry visible in the distance

Lake Meredith National Recreation Area

When seeking out state and national parks near Amarillo, beautiful lakes probably aren’t the first thing that comes to mind–but that’s exactly what you’ll find at Lake Meredith National Recreation Area!

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There are several hiking trails in the park, but you’ll also find options for kayaking, canoeing, fishing, boating, and more, ensuring that no matter what your preference for enjoying the water is, you’ll find something to do at Lake Meredith.

Driving Distance from Amarillo

40 minutes.

lake meredith in the texas panhandle, a texas national park service property

Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge

Stretching across 6,440 acres of grassland prairie, Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge is the oldest wildlife refuge in Texas, and it makes for a fun Amarillo day trip!

It’s a wonderful place to spot wildlife, especially migratory birds (it is particularly known for its population of lesser sandhill cranes when they pass through during migration).

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There are two very short trails in the park, but it is mostly known for its wildlife, not hiking.

The refuge is open 24/7 and is free to visit.

Driving Distance from Amarillo

2 hours.

prairie dog at muleshoe national wildlife refuge, one of the national parks near amarillo texas

Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge

For a chance to appreciate diverse wildlife, you can’t beat a visit to this national park near Amarillo, Texas.

Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge protects more than 300 species of migrating birds that pass through each spring and fall, as well as a wide expanse of grass prairie lands, where, among other things, you can spot black-tailed prairie dogs!

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The park has 4 short hiking trails to explore, as well as a scenic drive and an overlook to check out.

Driving Distance from Amarillo

35 minutes.

2 photos of state parks near amarillo tx: caprock canyons and palo duro. black and red text on a white background reads "6 cool parks near amarillo"

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