The Perfect Escape Is Only Six Hours From Dallas

It was simple, all I had to do was get behind the wheel and drive six hours from Dallas to the Amarillo area.

Yes, THAT Amarillo. Home to Route 66, 72-ounce steaks, the Cadillac cemetery and a nearby canyon that is as breathtaking as it is foolhardy to think you can do anything but take it in piece by piece.

I was headed to Palo Duro Canyon Doves Rest Cabins. Would this be the perfect holiday destination since it looks like social distancing is going to be a holiday staple too – yep, would it ever.

West Texas was dabbling a bit of snow while I was traveling there too  – but it added to the tone of my sojourn.

The cabins are located directly outside the main entrance to Palo Duro Canyon and 16 miles from Canyon, Texas or 30 miles from Amarillo. Take note too, each cabin is incredibly unique in design. Mine was the Durango cabin – rustic and well-appointed with views for literally – miles!

Durango cabin
Durango Cabin Photo credit Rita Cook

If you are thinking of social distancing this year for the holidays Doves Rest Cabins is going to be an excellent choice. Durango starts at $275 a night and is located on the historic Marshall Ranch. This is one of the cabins in the Doves Rest group that people clammer for since just in the backyard is a sheer drop with majestic views of the canyon wall.

Did I say breathtaking?

A little history note about the area where Durango Cabin is located comes from the Doves Rest Cabins website “The site where these cabins were constructed was used by the Comanche as a “butchery,” and nearby Buffalo Draw” and it is where the Southern and Quahada Comanche – factoid did you know this was notably the most powerful and many say ruthless Indian tribes in American history – I didn’t either – it is where they roamed. Also, in this area were the Kiowa, and Cheyenne and Arapaho.

lady standing by canyon
Rita Cook takes in the beauty of Palo Duro Canyon

It was pure buffalo land and 150 years ago there were millions of these wild creatures in the area. So were these nomad tribes – the hunter of the Great Buffalo and this is the site where these great buffalo hunters drove the animal over the cliff as a hunting technique.

I was there on the night of the December full moon. As I sat out in the cold looking toward the canyon wall not far away I could hear the night birds. I could see the canyon in the distance thanks to the beautiful light of the moon while I was wrapped in a warm blanket and thinking about the fire I ended up burning from the night I arrived until the morning I left.

Again, breathtaking, and highly recommended for the holidays.

Oh, and did I mention Longhorn cattle roam nearby in the adjacent pasture and the bright colors of the canyon are a geologist’s dreams?

Surrounded By Wildlife

You can also spot wildlife like blue quail, bobwhite quail, Rio Grande turkey, bobcats, mule deer, white-tailed deer, Barbary sheep, coyote, roadrunners, rabbits, and numerous songbirds. On the last night I was there, I actually heard the coyote  singing a song to me as the sun was going down on the horizon. It was nature’s song Playing for me at 3,500 feet above sea level in the heart of the Texas Panhandle (what we Texans call the Great Southern Plains) experiencing the beauty of nature.

I could feel the energy of the place too where the chief of the Quahada Comanche warrior, Chief Quanah Parker and the last of the great warriors fought the battle of Palo Duro Canyon in 1874 near where Doves Rest Cabins are today.

Hike, Mountain Bike Or Go On A Horseback Ride

Fast forward to modern times and for outdoor adventures there are more than 30-miles of hiking, mountain-biking and equestrian trails and 1,500 acres for horseback riding.

For those more interested in driving the area do not miss Route 66 in nearby Amarillo. All this can be done while social distancing or hanging with close family and friends for this unusual holiday season.

The Christmas trees are already up at the cabins too and the outside porch in all the 12 cabins are waiting for a holiday party this Christmas season. Escape the city, practice  social distancing and get to know nature like you never had the chance to before.

And that my friends is the lure of Palo Duro Canyon and Doves Rest Cabins for the holidays!