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19 Best National and State Parks near Amarillo, Texas to Visit Now

Do you know where to find the best natural landscapes, hiking trails, as well as national and state parks near Amarillo?

There are plenty of state parks and national parks close to Amarillo in the Lone Star State.

From Palo Duro State Park to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, here are the most popular parks near Amarillo, as well as some lesser-known ones for those looking to explore something new.

Other Amarillo Travel Guides:
Amazing Things to do in Amarillo, Texas
Best Museums in Amarillo, Texas

Best State Parks near Amarillo, Texas

Amarillo has several state parks within a couple of hours that are perfect for exploring on a day trip as well as weekend getaway.  

Here are our favorite state parks near Amarillo, Texas.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas

Palo Duro Canyon is the one of the largest canyons outside of the Grand Canyons in the United States.

The park offers plenty to do, including hiking trails, horseback riding, and camping options for every level.

The highlight here is undoubtedly the Lighthouse trail that takes you to this iconic rock formation in the park.

If you’re going to be out on a trail, be sure to pack plenty of water, as some trails can get quite hot.

Camping spots are far from one another; this is good for those looking for an escape in the wilderness!

Lighthouse Trail in Palo Duro Canyon is one of the best hiking trails in Texas
Lighthouse Trail in Palo Duro Canyon is one of the best hiking trails in Texas

Caprock Canyons State Park, Texas

Caprock Canyons State Park is a massive state park notable for its colorful layers of rock. 

The state park is full of dramatic rock formations, sandstone cliffs, and natural arches.

There’s also plenty to do inside the park, including hiking, camping, wildlife, and birding.

Bison often roam through the park, grazing in their natural habitat.

The mountain biking trail is also very popular with those looking for an adrenaline rush.

The park is often hotter than other parks, but the views make it worth it!

Panoramas at Caprock Canyons State Park Texas
Panoramas at Caprock Canyons State Park Texas

Ute Lake State Park, New Mexico

Ute Lake State Park is a beautiful state park that offers plenty of camping spots and other activities.

The water in the lake makes activities like boating, kayaking, canoeing, as well as fishing possible.

Don’t skip out on the hiking trails around Ute Lake State Park; they’re some of the most beautiful in the area.

Sugarite Canyon State Park, New Mexico

Sugarite Canyon State Park is a state park that’s home to historic structures and ruins from the time of the Old West.

There are plenty of activities available in Sugarite Canyon State Park, including fishing, hiking trails, birding, mountain biking trails, and more!

The views at Sugarite Canyon State Park are excellent no matter where you’re located inside the park.

Copper Breaks State Park, Texas

The sandstone cliffs and rugged landscape of Copper Breaks State Park make for excellent hiking trails.

There are plenty of canyon overlooks, as well as natural arches to admire along the trail.

There are also plenty of primitive campsites for those looking to spend a night outside in nature.

Abilene State Park, Texas

Abilene State Park is a popular state park located on the shores of Lake Abilene.

From swimming in the pool built by the CCC to canoeing the lake, there are plenty of activities at the park for visitors.

As you walk along the shoreline trails, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing. You may see bison, deer, and also the occasional prairie dog towns.

Abilene State Park also offers plenty of birding opportunities in the nesting grounds along the shoreline.  

They’re home to a variety of birds from Canada geese to ospreys. Don’t forget your binoculars!

Big Spring State Park, Texas

Big Spring State Park is a great state park for those who enjoy mountain views, scenic landscapes, and hiking. 

Along with the natural beauty of the park, it also offers a diverse ecosystem that ranges from shrubs and vines to wild orchids.

Attractions include the railroad tunnel, views from the top of the bluff, and historic rock carvings by indigenous people.

Fort Griffin State Historic Site, Texas

Fort Griffin State Historic Site is located in Albany, Texas. It’s a great place to learn about the Old West!

Popular things to do at the site include hiking, birding, photographing the Longhorns, star gazing, and also camping.

Numerous events and programs are offered throughout the year that give visitors a chance to experience life on the plains at a historic fort.

Monahans Sandhills State Park in Texas is popular with families
Monahans Sandhills State Park in Texas is popular with families

Monahans Sandhills State Park, Texas

Love sand boarding?

Monahans Sandhills State Park is a state park that’s known for its endless fields of sand dunes.

The park is a great place to go sand boarding or just enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

The park is home to plenty of unique wildlife, such as coyotes, foxes, rabbits and a variety of snakes.

There are also prairie dogs living in the area.

You can visit their homes by strolling along one of the nature trails and looking for little holes.

Best National Parks near Amarillo, Texas

A city famous for being the Route 66 Historic District and Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo is so much more than that.

Few visitors to the Texas panhandle are aware that just beyond the urban attractions of Amarillo, amazing nature awaits.

Some of the most impressive natural scenery, outdoor recreation, and wildlife encounters are also found in the national parks around Amarillo, Texas.

Alibates Flint Quarry National Monument, Texas

Alibates Flint Quarry National Monument is a national monument that’s located within the Texas panhandle.

It’s unique because it has the world’s largest deposit of flint, also called chert.

For those who love to geocache, Alibates Flint Quarry offers over 1,300 sites for you to discover!

Hiking trails at Alibates flint Quarry National Monument near Lake Meredith Recreation Area Texas
Hiking trails at Alibates flint Quarry National Monument near Lake Meredith Recreation Area Texas

Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, Texas

If you’re looking for a national park that’s close to Amarillo, it doesn’t get much better than Lake Meredith National recreation Area!

The park is filled with opportunities for outdoor recreation, including camping, fishing, boating, as well as water skiing.

If you’re looking for a place to go horseback riding or hiking, Lake Meredith National Recreation Area is the place!

Rita Blanca National Grassland, Texas

Rita Blanca National Grassland is a national grassland that covers several acres of prairies and open spaces.

It’s located northwest of Amarillo and is jointly owned by the city as well as USDA Forest Service.  

Visitors to Rita Blanca can enjoy plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities including horseback riding, hiking, bird watching, and also wildlife viewing.

This area is home to many unique birds like the black-capped vireo and the golden-cheeked warbler.

It’s also a great place to go wildflower spotting in the spring!

Lake Meredith Recreation area panorama
Lake Meredith Recreation area panorama

Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge, Texas

Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge is a national wildlife refuge that’s located in the Texas panhandle.

It’s home to almost 200 species of birds and provides plenty of outdoor recreation with fishing, boating, camping, hunting, as well as serene landscapes.

This area has been described as one of the premier birding sites in all of North America and is a great place to go bird watching!

Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Texas

Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge is yet another national wildlife refuge located in the Texas panhandle.

Visitors to this area can enjoy plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities including fishing, hunting, boating and much more.  

This refuge is also filled with amazing animals like white-tailed deer and prairie chickens!  

Capulin Volcano National Monument, New Mexico

Capulin Volcano National Monument is a national monument that’s located in northern New Mexico.

The site is known for its volcanic history as well as the Native American artifacts found there.

Tourists to this area who are interested in hiking can go on a 5-mile loop trail that circles Capulin Peak.  

You’ll be able to see the volcano up close and get great views of the surrounding countryside.  

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park is a national park that’s located north of Amarillo in Colorado.

It’s filled with sand dunes that are taller than multistoried buildings, so it’s definitely worth the visit.

While you’re there, visitors can enjoy plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities like sand boarding, hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing.

Also Read: Colorado Road Trip Itinerary

White Sands National Park, New Mexico

White Sands National Park is a national park that’s located in New Mexico, just east of the Texas border.  

It was made famous by the huge gypsum sand dunes found there. This is the largest gypsum field found anywhere in the world.

Tourists to White Sands National Park can go hiking, camping, as well as wildlife viewing.  

The most popular tourist activity is undoubtedly sledding over the sand dunes.

El Capitan peak at Guadalupe Mountains National Park at sunrise
El Capitan peak at Guadalupe Mountains National Park at sunrise

Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is an incredible national park that’s located in the Texas and New Mexico border area.

The mountain range reaches almost 8,000 feet at the highest point and offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

While you’re there, tourists can enjoy many different hiking trails as well as camping, wildlife viewing, horseback riding and much more.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a national park that’s located in southern New Mexico.  

The park is most famous for its caves which are filled with huge cave formations.

Tourists who visit this park can go caving on the guided tours as well as many other outdoor activities like hiking, camping and wildlife viewing.  

From Buffalo Lake to Caprock Canyons, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation.

One thing these parks all have in common is they offer visitors many different types of activities like hiking, boating, camping, birding, as well as photography opportunities.

Are you ready for a weekend getaway to one of these amazing national parks?

Do you know of any other parks near Amarillo that should be added to this list? Comment below!

Further Reading:
18 Amazing Day Trips from Amarillo, Texas
20 Interesting Weekend Getaways from Amarillo