Interested in an adventurous ride through Texas and New Mexico? Amarillo to Roswell is a fascinating trip by RV. Here are a few of the suggested stops along the way.
Amarillo by morning, noon, evening.. no matter when you get there put Palo Duro Canyon on your itinerary.
Palo Duro Canyon is about 27 miles south of Amarillo. It is the second-largest canyon in the US, spanning 120 miles with widths ranging from 6 to 20 miles.
There are 30 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails ranging from easy to difficult.
Rock Garden Trail
You'll see longhorn cattle, view hoodoos (tall, thin spires of rocks protruding upward), hike Rock Garden Trail featuring fields of boulders; or hike the park’s most popular trail, the Lighthouse Trail leading to the iconic Lighthouse rock formation.
Be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen and enjoy the spectacular views. The canyon is gorgeous with multi-colored walls of rock and sandstone in reds, oranges, and tan and scattered with lots of Mesquite and Juniper.
If you want to avoid the 120-degree weather at the bottom, the best times to visit the canyon are October and April.
View a great trail map of the whole area and make your plans.
There are 3 campsites in the park offering sites with electricity and water for $26. Be sure to book early, these sites fill up fast.
Just a word of caution, there is a 10% grade going down into the canyon. No worries, all the big rigs can be found there, just be sure to downshift.
If these sites are full there are other options close to the rim of the park as well as plenty of RV campgrounds in Amarillo.
Palo Duro Canyon Adventures
For the truly adventurous may we suggest Palo Duro Canyon Jeep Tours operated by Palo Duro Creek Ranch. They offer 3 different tours ranging from one to three hours taking you to the bottom of the canyon.
Jeep is a little deceiving.
Actually, up to eight people will pile into a battered Hummer for the ride of their lives to the Canyon bottom.
Case, the owner and tour guide, has a wealth of knowledge about the area and he also has nerves of steel. He maneuvers the Hummer down almost nonexistent roads, goes around curves so close to the edge of the canyon you might emit some screams, and climbs up 50-degree slopes.
He enjoys every minute of it, all the while regaling his somewhat petrified guests with tales of the canyon and also cowboy history.
Along the way, some of the places that you will get to stop at are Legend Falls, Yellow Bear Bluff, and Mule Deer Meadow. The scenery is spectacular and the thrills even more so.
It’s not for the faint of heart but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you won’t regret.
Amarillo to Roswell – Time to Eat
After a day at the canyon, be sure to visit The Big Texan, a Texas tradition.
This restaurant has been going strong since 1960. Originally it was located on iconic Route 66 but, out of necessity, it relocated along HWY 40. It’s home to the 72 oz steak.
For those with smaller appetites, the portions are big, the steak delicious, and the price is easy on the pocketbook.
It has a hotel, an RV park, shopping, and picture taking opportunities galore.
Most RV parks close to the restaurant offer free limo service to and from the restaurant.
The limos feature the famous Texas longhorns on their grills.
Also located along HWY 40 is Cadillac Ranch, a wacky art installation of upturned Cadillacs created by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez, and Doug Michels in 1974. Bring your own can of spray paint and join in the fun.
How much Time to Allocate for this trip from Amarillo to Roswell?
The trip from Amarillo to Roswell can take one day or a week depending on if you want to stop along the way and visit the main streets of Texas and New Mexico.
Heading out of Amarillo take Hwy 60 West. The first place of interest is Hereford, TX, the Beef Capital of the World.
The Herford Feed Yard, one of the oldest feed yards in the US, is able to feed up to 50,000 head of cattle. There are literally miles of cut hay and hay bales to feed them. It is quite a sight to see.
Continuing along HWY 60 be sure to stop in Friona, TX. Your first stop should be at the Donut Shop located right along the highway. Grab some donuts to eat as you stroll along Main Street. Be sure to stop at the Milk House Market, you won’t be disappointed.
Continuing down the road you will eventually come to Clovis, NM.
Their historical downtown area is a must-see from its cobblestoned streets to antique stores.
There is Bullet Bob Has It and boy does he. This is a huge, two-story store FULL of antiques, collectibles, and just a lot of stuff.
The staff is friendly and the walk down memory lane is delightful.
Just down the street is Penny Lane featuring antique furniture from the US, Britain, France, and Egypt. It is high quality and reasonably priced.
JunQtique is next door. It features whimsical metal art from flying pig carts to birdhouses.
There are a number of restaurants located in the historic district as well. Parking is not hard to find on off streets and it’s free.
Highway 70 will take you through Portales and on into Roswell.
Roswell has a zoo, an art museum, and a military academy but It is most famous for aliens. Yes, aliens, the most notably from the alleged 1947 UFO crash.
The International UFO Museum and Research Center only costs $3 for seniors and is a great way to spend a couple of hours. If you are interested in the 1947 crash or alleged sightings of UFOs and alleged abductions you won’t be disappointed.
Main street is full of alien sculptures that make for fun photo opportunities. There is even a UFO themed McDonalds close to the museum.
There are lots of RV Parks and a state park located in the area. If you are traveling there the third week of October, make sure to make your reservations early. That is when the State Fair is going on and the sites fill up early.
This is a fun-filled trip that can be done in a weekend. If you want to continue down Highway 70 toward Albuquerque the scenery changes from high plains desert to spectacular mountain vistas. It’s a trip worth taking.