Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument is a decades-old archeological site in Texas, located 30 miles northeast of Amarillo, close to Borger, Texas. Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument was first established in 1965 and was later redesigned in 1978. The monument now occupies an area of 1,371 acres.
For centuries, people used to visit the red bluffs above the Canadian River for flint, which they needed to build their tools and weapons. Lucky for them, Alibates Flint was the best you could get. It started 12,000 years ago, when the natives of the Clovis Complex used to extract the rich in color and veined Alibates. They continued to extract flint until 1870. At the monument, you’ll also come across many ruined dwellings of the Plains Village Indians, who used to be residents of the area from 1150 to 1500 BC.
Most of the quarry pits are located on hills, directly above the Canadian River, and providing a very splendid view. Some of these pits are as small as only five feet across, others are as wide as twenty-five feet across. Their depth varies from four to seven feet.
The most in-demand flint in the area is the rainbow-hued flint of superior quality. There are a total of 250 shallow pits at the monument. Most of the vegetation here includes short prairie grasses.
The Quarries are located nearly 35 miles north of Amarillo. If you’re coming from there, then take the 1-40 and take the Lakeside exit north, heading towards Lake Meredith National Recreation Area.
Continue down the road, and the exit on TX 136 north towards Borger. Drive straight for 30 miles, turn left from TX 136 onto the Cas Johnson Road. From there, park service signs could be seen. Proceed straight towards the Y intersection and turn right. Continue two miles northwest from there and you’ll find yourself at the Alibates Visitor Center.
Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument does not offer any camping opportunities to the visitors. However, adjacent to the Monument is the Lake Meredith Recreation Area that offers campsites on the shoreline and in the trees.
The recreation area has ten RV sites with electric and water hookups. They can be booked by making reservations online. All other sites are on a first come, first served basis.
The campsites can be used for up to 14 consecutive days.
Washita Battlefield National Historic Site has preserved the very spot where Peace Chief Black Kettle was attacked by the 7th U.S. Cavalry, at the site of Cheyenne village, while under the protection of US Army. An advocate for peace, Chief Black Kettle remains a hero, for fighting for the protection of his people, and signing peace treaties with the US Army.
The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum is located 15 minutes south of Amarillo, at West Texas A&M University. As the name suggests, the museum is dedicated to displaying the history of the Panhandle-Plains region in detail in a multitude of different ways through the use of unique exhibits and displays.
At the museum, you’ll get to see exhibits of cover art, transportation, petroleum, agriculture, paleontology, and many more. This museum came into existence in 1921, as a result of the efforts of the faculty and students of West Texas State Teachers College.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park is about 40 miles from Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument and is an excellent place to visit when you are in the area. The state park is also known as the “Little Grand Canyon of Texas” because the second largest canyon in the USA that is found here.
Other than the enormous canyon, the park also offers some great hiking, camping, and equestrian trails. The entire area is very rugged and colorful which makes it incredibly scenic.
Hutchinson County Museum is located on the main street in Borger and is one of the most exciting places to visit in the area. It preserves the history of the county that dates back to ancient times.
In the museum, you’ll get to know about the animals that once used to roam these plains millions of years ago. The tools of the ancient times are also on display here. You will also learn about the history of the time when the first ranch was built at this remote plain and how it grew bigger and more populated. Visit the museum for a few hours to travel back in time.
Lake Meredith is located right next to Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument and offers tons of activities. Once you have seen all there is to see at the monument, head towards the Recreation Area and enjoy activities such as hiking, horseback riding, and camping. The Recreation Area also houses the Lake Meredith Aquatic and Wildlife Museum, which has a brilliant collection of wildlife replicas and aquariums.
Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument has a very popular program in effect since 1965 where the vacationers get to join the rangers and tour the Alibates Quarry pits using a trail.
The trail will not only take you through the 700 identified excavation sites, but you’ll also get to learn about the people who used to live here and mine the flint so many years ago. The hike on the trail is moderate, and it’s a one mile round trip, with 170 feet of elevation gain. Reservation for the trail tour needs to be made in advance.