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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Texas Panhandle
Windmill on the level plains of the Texas Panhandle
Country  United States
State  Texas
Region High Plains
Highest point
 - location Dallam County
 - elevation 1,440 m (4,724 ft)
 - coordinates 36°30′01″N 103°02′30″W / 36.50028°N 103.04167°W / 36.50028; -103.04167
Lowest point
 - location Childress County
 - elevation 474 m (1,555 ft)
 - coordinates 34°34′20″N 100°00′01″W / 34.57222°N 100.00028°W / 34.57222; -100.00028
Area 67,046 km2 (25,887 sq mi)
Population 402,862 (2000)
Density 6 /km2 (16 /sq mi)
Timezone Central (UTC-6)
Area code 806
Map of the Texas Panhandle
Website: Handbook of Texas: Panhandle

The Texas Panhandle is a region of the U.S. state of Texas consisting of the northernmost 26 counties in the state. The panhandle is a rectangular area bordered by New Mexico to the west and Oklahoma to the north and east. The southern border of Swisher County is considered to be the southern boundary of the region, though some consider the region to extend as far south as Lubbock County. Its land area is 66,883.58 km² (25,823.9 sq mi), or nearly 10 percent of the state's total. There is an additional 162.53 km² (62.75 sq mi) of water area. Its population as of the 2000 census was 402,862 residents, or 1.932 percent of the state's population. As of the 2000 census, this would put the average population density for the region at 15.56 persons/sq mi. The Panhandle is distinct from North Texas, which is more to the southeast.

Most of the western half, west of the Caprock Escarpment and north and south of the Canadian River breaks, is rather flat terrain. The largest city in the Panhandle is Amarillo. The relatively flat land gives way to Palo Duro Canyon southeast of the city, the second largest canyon in the United States. North of Amarillo lies Lake Meredith, a reservoir created by Sanford Dam on the Canadian River. The lake, along with the Ogallala Aquifer, provide drinking water and irrigation for this moderately dry area of the high plains.

Interstate Highway 40 passes through the panhandle, and also passes through Amarillo. The highway passes through Deaf Smith, Oldham, Potter, Carson, Gray, Donley, and Wheeler Counties.

Because the Act of Admission of Texas into the Union allows the state to divide itself, a bill was introduced to the Texas legislature in 1915 in order to create a State of Jefferson, made up of the Texas Panhandle.[1]

The Texas Panhandle has been identified as one of the fastest-growing wind-power-producing regions in the nation over the past decade because of its strong, steady winds. [2]


Demographics of the Panhandle

As of the census of 2000, approximately 402,862 people lived in the panhandle. Of these, 68.9% were non-Hispanic White, 23.8% were Hispanic, and 4.6% were African American. Only 2.7% were of some other ethnicity. 92.3% of inhabitants claimed native birth, and 8.9% were veterans of the United States armed forces. 49.9% of the population was male, and 50.1% was female. 13.2% of the population were 65 years of age or older, whereas 27.8% of the population was under 18 years of age.


The 26 northernmost counties that makeup the Texas Panhandle include: Armstrong County, Briscoe County, Carson County, Castro County, Childress County, Collingsworth County, Dallam County, Deaf Smith County, Donley County, Gray County, Hall County, Hansford County, Hartley County, Hemphill County, Hutchinson County, Lipscomb County, Moore County, Ochiltree County, Oldham County, Parmer County, Potter County, Randall County, Roberts County, Sherman County, Swisher County, and Wheeler County[3]

Cities and Towns

Major cities of the Texas Panhandle with populations greater than 10,000 include: Amarillo, Borger, Canyon, Dumas, Hereford, and Pampa.

Some of the smaller towns with populations less than 10,000 include: Booker, Bovina, Cactus, Canadian, Childress, Clarendon, Claude, Dalhart, Dimmitt, Friona, Fritch, Memphis, Panhandle, Perryton, Shamrock, Spearman, Stinnett, Stratford, Sunray, Tulia, and Wellington


Much like the Oklahoma Panhandle, the region is very politically and socially conservative. In the 2008 Presidential Election, John McCain received 78.82% of the vote, as compared with Barack Obama's 20.48% share of the vote. Other candidates received 0.70% of the total vote. However, most (62.2%) of Barack Obama's votes came from Potter and Randall Counties, near Amarillo, the only large city in the region, with the rest of the panhandle being even more strongly conservative. In Ochiltree County, John McCain received 91.97% of the vote.


See also

External links

Coordinates: 35°29′N 101°24′W / 35.483°N 101.4°W / 35.483; -101.4


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Palo Duro Canyon
Palo Duro Canyon

The northwest corner of Texas is known as the Texas Panhandle, probably because it juts out in stark plaintiveness from the rest of the state. Flat and dry, the steady prevailing winds can sometimes create mild dust storms, though modern farming techniques have much reduced the terrible dust storms which occurred during the "Dust Bowl Days" of the Great Depression. The region is subject to extremes of temperature like much of the Great Plains. Temperatures regularly reach 100ºF (38ºC) during the summer, while the winters can bring snows and the occasional blizzard. While the snows are not frequent, the prevailing winds can drive what little does drop across a large area of the plains until it finds something to pile up against, usually a town or city or a highway. Drifting is generally the real hazard, rather than large quantities of snow as happen in the North and East of the U.S.

Panhandle region of Texas


For most outsiders visiting for the first time, the Panhandle represents a lot of what is expected of the state of Texas. Its vast prairies and open grasslands harken back to a time when the frontier was largely unexplored; a rugged, unfamiliar place with intrigue and legend hidden in its plains and canyons. The people of the region are also quite representative of what an outsider may expect, displaying the fierce independence and genuine polite courtesy that Texans are famous for.

Get in

By plane

Both Lubbock and Amarillo have large airports served by major and regional carriers.

  • I-20 runs through Abilene, providing a gateway to the southern Panhandle.
  • US 84 leads into the Panhandle towards Lubbock and Snyder; you can get to it from I-20.
  • I-40 intersects with I-27 connecting Amarillo and Lubbock to New Mexico and Oklahoma.
  • US 287 connects Amarillo to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
  • US 87, US 83, US 70 & US 62/82 offer alternative routes.

Get around

In addition to Interstates 20, 27, and 40, several major US highways traverse the area, and, though the Panhandle is predominantly rural, it benefits from Texas' exemplary state highway system and remains easily navigable. It is recommended, however, that you keep a close watch on the gas gauge as you travel the Panhandle because population centers are generally spread out over a wide distance, and not all of these towns possess gas stations. The ones which do tend to close at dusk or shortly thereafter, when planning an evening drive make sure you fill up before embarking.

  • Palo Duro Canyon, near Amarillo. The second largest in the US, Palo Duro Canyon is known for its striking natural formations and largely undisturbed beauty. Catch a performance of the musical play Texas under the stars for a uniquely Texan experience.
  • Lake Meredith National Recreation Area. North of Amarillo lies the large Lake Meredith. The Lake Meredith area features several canyon systems, the Canadian River, and the lake itself, which supplies water to both Amarillo and Lubbock. Almost the entire area is free to roam for experiencing the wild Texas landscape. Rent a boat to enjoy the water, or hike through McBride Canyon for amazing views of the Canadian River.
  • The Cadillac Ranch, west of Amarillo. The sight of these half-buried Cadillacs has fascinated and surprised many a curious traveler since 1974. The "sculpture" is located on private land, but an up close view is welcomed and even encouraged.
  • Historic Route 66. The old Mother Road parallels I-40 through the High Plains, and most of the towns it passes through have made an effort to preserve its original route.


Though the Panhandle is relatively sparse in population, there is hardly a shortage of diversions and amusements for visiting guests. There is camping at Palo Duro Canyon State Park, boating and fishing on the many area lakes and reservoirs, and public park systems are abundant in the largest towns and cities in the area. For those seeking the thrill and excitement of rollercoasters and other rides, there are two parks in the region to choose from. Wonderland Park in Amarillo, the largest privately owned park in the state, boasts more than 25 rides and attractions, including the Texas Tornado double-loop rollercoaster. Joyland Park in Lubbock features several carnival-style flat rides, but also has 3 rollercoasters and a variety of water rides. Both parks charge modest entry and parking fees and have a wide variety of old-fashioned carnival eateries.

For those looking for a genuine taste of rough-and-tumble Texana, a visit to the Bar H Dude Ranch in Clarendon offers a glimpse into the inner workings of a Panhandle cattle ranch. Many of the towns in the area also possess small rodeo arenas where competition generally takes place on the weekends.

For avid football fans, high school football in Texas is something not to be missed. It enjoys a stature in Texas that is unrivaled in any other state and has been the subject of many feature films, books, and television shows. For a look at the real fervor that can surround the sport, one should make time to catch a game in one of the smaller towns, where it is often the most prominent diversion in the community. In towns with especially sparse populations, a six-man version of the game is played which is delightfully fast paced and high scoring. Games generally occur on Friday night, and most communities post their respective school's schedule at local restaurants and other establishments.


A visit to The Big Texan Steak Ranch is a must for any Amarillo visitor. This flamboyantly tacky display of Texan bravado wrapped in bright neon dares patrons to consume a 72 ounce steak and all of the trimmings. If you can finish it all within an hour, your meal is free.

Small, family owned diners and lunch counters can be found in many of the small towns that dot the Panhandle, and while these hidden treasures may not be glitzy or glamorous, one can count on a filling home cooked meal for a small amount of money. Few of them advertise, so a keen eye is the best way to find them.

Also, if one is looking for traditional Mexican food, avoid the large chain restaurants and find a small one. These restaurants are usually owned and operated by a single family, with much of the food and trimmings prepared from scratch.

Stay safe

Since the Panhandle is largely rural, crime is virtually nonexistent outside of the major cities. The weather, however, does require some vigilance, as the region often experiences the widest weather extremes in the state. Panhandle winters can be surprisingly brisk, and the areas at the far north end can receive significant snowfall during the winter months. Conversely, summertime high temperatures routinely top 100ºF (38ºC). Pack and dress accordingly.

Also, the Panhandle is at the tail end of Tornado Alley. It is wise to pay attention to weather reports during the spring storm season, which runs generally from March through early June.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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