16 miles S of Amarillo; 103 miles N of Lubbock
Founded as Canyon City in 1889, Canyon takes its name from the spectacular Palo Duro Canyon, which lies 12 miles to the west. The nomadic prehorse tribes of Apaches first inhabited the region, but by the 18th century Comanche and Kiowa horsemen used the canyon as a major campground. By the late 19th century, white ranchers began grazing cattle in the area: Charles Goodnight, the inventor of the chuck wagon, drove a herd into Palo Duro Canyon in 1876 and established the JA Ranch.
Today a city of 13,000 residents, Canyon is known primarily as the gateway to Palo Duro Canyon State Park and the home of West Texas State A&M University. The town is a good base camp for those who want to explore Palo Duro Canyon but don't want to spend their nights in a tent. The community also has a charming small-town vibe, and much of its colorful history is presented at the excellent Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum.