Dumas, TX 79029
5 Ways to Experience the Real Wild West in Dumas
By Ashley Donde
A town brimming with the tall tales of the Wild West, a pioneering spirit, and plenty of pride, Dumas is a laid-back getaway from the daily hustle and bustle. The namesake of the famous 1920’s song “I’m a Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas,” there’s more than meets the eye in this High Plains hideout. Grab a bite to eat of local Tex-Mex and watch the tumbleweeds roll by, or camp out among the rugged beauty of the Texas Panhandle. With plenty of lodging to choose from—including a “horse motel” for those who wish to travel with their equine friends—this small town is begging to be explored.
Explore an Oasis on the High Plains
To truly experience the “wild” in Wild West, head to Lake Meredith National Recreation Area. This 10,000-acre lake is an oasis in the arid High Plains of Texas that offers endless outdoor adventures. Walk in the footsteps of the earliest peoples on remote and rugged hiking trails, rent a pontoon boat or a kayak and explore water-filled canyons, and enjoy stunning lake views before camping under the stars. Keep your eye out for wildlife, including bobcats and red foxes, and test your angling skills while fishing for bass, catfish, and walleye. Lake Meredith is the perfect way to connect with nature ideal for anyone who truly wants to get away from it all.
Get Down for Dogie Days
Celebrate more than 70 years of Texas tradition and High-Plains hospitality at Dogie Days (June 12 – 15), one of the biggest events in town. Play midway games, dive into delicious barbecue, and stick around for the festive Dogie Days parade on Saturday. This carnival-like event is family friendly, with plenty of food, and entertainment for all ages to enjoy.
For more fun in the West Texas sun, join in the messy, muddy melee at the 4th of July World Championship Mud Volleyball Tournament (July 4). This annual competition hosts teams from all over the Texas Panhandle to duke it out in an elimination-style tournament. Food and drinks are available from on-site vendors, and you’ll want to stick around for the fireworks spectacular following the close of the tournament.
See Ancient Petroglyphs
When you think of the Wild West, images of cowboys and horses likely come to mind. But this part of Texas was a very different place 13,000 years ago, when ancient groups of mammoth hunters searched for flint to use for spears and other tools. Explore this chapter of history at the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, where you can still find the colorful flint that was prized and traded for its high quality. Discover how ancient peoples survived here when you take a free ranger-guided hiking tour of the quarry pits, and search for petroglyphs along the way.
After your hike, visit the Alibates Gardens to learn about medicinal plants and how local flora contributed to human survival. The Mesquite Trail nearby is a short 10-minute hike where you’ll see mesquite trees from the Ice Age, along with other plants and animals that have called this area home for millennia.
Experience Life on the Frontier
Fast forward from ancient mammoth hunters to 19th- and early 20th-century Texans, and discover what life was like for them at Window on the Plains Museum. Step inside an old-fashioned general store and post office, stocked with all the typical odds and ends of the era. Take a gander at the one-stop shop physician, druggist, and dentist’s office that was commonplace in the late 1800’s. Imagine getting your teeth pulled by your pharmacist. On second thought, let’s leave that thought in the past.
Visit a replica 1920’s family home constructed by a master carpenter and check out other relics from the era, including a telephone switchboard and a horse-drawn buggy. This museum is quite expansive and will give you a pretty good idea of what life was like at the turn of the 20th century.
Catch a Blockbuster at a Historic Theater
Although you can find movie theaters just about anywhere, the Evelyn Theatre isn’t your typical movie house. Opened in 1946, this historic theater in downtown Dumas still screens Hollywood’s biggest hits. Recently renovated, the Evelyn Theatre still has plenty of classic charm that you’ll geek out over if you’re a history enthusiast. Grab a comfy seat, order some fresh popcorn, and treat yourself to an old-fashioned night of film at this historic movie theater.
Get a taste of the modern Wild West when you visit Dumas, a one-of-a-kind destination tucked away in the High Plains of Texas. Learn more about all Dumas has to offer here.
About the Author: Ashley Donde is a freelance writer who loves adventure. Her family of four can often be found exploring the great outdoors, touring museums, or enjoying a local festival.
Dumas, TX 79029