Nothing screams classic road trip destination like the southwestern United States. The region conjures up images of the open road, particularly the iconic Route 66, and an Albuquerque to Dallas road trip is the perfect way to explore all that the area has to offer. As you wind your way through the wide expanse of deserts and canyon land between the two cities, you have a wealth of options for stops and detours, from national and state parks like Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Caprock Canyons State Park and Lake Arrowhead State Park to attractions such as the Route 66 Monument and Cadillac Ranch.
Carlsbad Cavern National Park
If you’re willing to stretch your road trip itinerary from Albuquerque to Dallas a bit, then head on down to Carlsbad Cavern National Park, located in southern New Mexico just north of the Texas border. Here you’ll find the epic Carlsbad Cavern itself, a large limestone cave sometimes called the Big Room. At 4,000 feet across, it’s the biggest chamber of its kind in North America. The eponymous cavern was discovered in 1898 by a teenager named Jim White, who named the Big Room and other sections of the cavern system. In addition to Carlsbad Caverns, the park contains 118 other caves.
For inspiration on other National Parks to visit on your next adventure, check out our guides.
Villanueva State Park
Villanueva State Park houses unique bluffs made of sandstone at an elevation of 6,110 feet. Pecos River, which runs through the park, has carved out a magnificent canyon of red and yellow sandstone over the years. Today you can hike along the canyon walls, camp or picnic among the cottonwood trees that speckle the hillsides and view the many wildflowers found in the park.
Caprock Canyons State Park
At Caprock Canyons State Park, a ruggedly beautiful spot in the Texas Panhandle region, you'll encounter native bison roaming in their natural habitat, as well as the Mexican free-tailed bats roosting in Clarity Tunnel, an abandoned railroad tunnel located on the park’s Trailway. You can also explore a stunning landscape of red rock canyons via 90 miles of hiking trails. There are both beginner and intermediate trails, some of which lead to remote and isolated areas of the park.
Copper Breaks State Park
Copper Breaks State Park is so named because of the deposits of copper that dot the landscape. The park is small but punches above its weight in terms of activities. One of the main draws of the Copper Breaks State Park is that it's located in a dark sky zone, meaning that at night you can experience an incredible starry vista. The park organizes monthly Starwalks, but you can always set out on your own. During the daytime, you can ride horses, hike, swim and fish.
Lake Arrowhead State Park
At Lake Arrowhead State Park you can expect to find five miles of trails crisscrossing 300 acres of grassy terrain. The trails are primarily flat and are ideal for walking and horseback riding alike. There are four campsites, each of which is fully equipped with water, electricity, a fire ring and a picnic table. You can also birdwatch to your heart’s content and even borrow binoculars and bird books from the main office to aid in your quest.
Route 66 Monument
You’ve surely heard of Route 66, the famous roadway also called the Mother Road, the Will Rogers Highway and the Main Street of America. Route 66 linked Chicago to L.A., winding its way through several states, including, prominently, New Mexico. This monument in Tucumcari was designed by a man named Tom Coffin as part of a competition orchestrated by the New Mexico Highway Commission and is meant to look like a tail fin of the sort you’d see on cars from the 50s and 60s. The monument itself may be humble, but what it stands for looms large in the collective memory of the country.
Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum
The Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum, or PWHF for short, is the only non-profit pro wrestling-related hall of fame not affiliated with any particular sponsor or wrestling promotion. This center was previously located in Amsterdam, New York and Schenectady, New York but has since been moved to the Lone Star State. If you’re a fan of or have any interest in professional wrestling, be sure to check this one out. Even if you're not into the sport, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised by the attention-grabbing presentations that connect wrestling to the history of the region. There’s plenty of authentic memorabilia to be found here from around the world, including a real ring bell that rings just like it used to during matches. Here, you'll discover the many facets of the history of professional wrestling, from the Pioneer Era to the Modern Era.
This classic open-air art installation makes quite an impression. Located just outside of Amarillo, Texas, it’s been around since the '70s, when it was created and installed by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels, members of the Ant Farm art collective. The display consists of ten Cadillacs from the '40s, '50s and early '60s arranged in a straight line in a cow pasture beside Interstate 40. The cars were spray painted in bright, eye-catching designs before being buried nose down in the dirt.
Although small by some standards, Tucumcari is a thriving metropolis compared to its desert surroundings. This gateway to the high-desert plain was founded in 1901, and it's known for having been an iconic stop along the historic Route 66. Back in the day, there were alluring neon signs along the famous roadway. Today, by making the city part of your Albuquerque to Dallas RV road trip, you’ll be able to discover abandoned testaments to a past era, from the Ranch House Cafe to the Westerner Drive-In. Make no mistake, however; Tucumcari remains a thriving community to this day as evidenced by the preponderance of street art, diners and museums. In terms of campgrounds, Blaze-In-Saddle RV Park is a great option. The nearby Ute Lake State Park has dump station facilities.
Amarillo and the surrounding area is where the traditional western ranch lifestyle meets the wonders of modern life in Texas, bolstered as it is by the state’s booming economy. The largest city in the Texas Panhandle, Amarillo lies at the intersection of the plains and the desert. The city is full of distinctive architecture, including Spanish Revival and art deco buildings. Perhaps the most famous section of Amarillo is the downtown U.S. Route 66-Sixth Street Historic District. There, you can stroll through antique stores or choose from a wide selection of exciting dining options. If you’re interested in horses, be sure to visit the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum while you’re in the city. Check out the Palo Duro Rim RV Campground and Amarillo Best RV Park if you need a dump site.
This Northern Texas city of just over 100,000 people is home to the world’s littlest skyscraper: the Newby-McMahon Building, a red brick-and-stone Neoclassical structure that's only four stories tall but nonetheless towers above its surroundings. Other attractions include the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum, where you can find costumes and photos of famous wrestlers. Just 5 miles from downtown you can find Sheppard Air Force Base, where there are several prestigious flying programs that train pilots who go on to join the United States Air Force and NATO. If you need a dump site, look to Arrowhead Lake. Campgrounds in the area include Wichita Falls RV Park.
We're happy that you’ve decided to include a road trip from Albuquerque to Dallas as part of your travel itinerary. This trip offers plenty to see and do for the whole family. If you’re looking for a great way to avoid the hassles that come with a traditional vacation, consider renting an RV in Albuquerque or Dallas. You're practically guaranteed to reach your destination in style. Start planning your trip today!