What to Expect When You Visit Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas

Along I-40, on the east side of Amarillo, Texas, is Cadillac Ranch. Along this dusty stretch of Lone Start State highway, ten Cadillacs are buried nose-first into the dirt, providing a canvas for an ever-changing public work of art. Here’s what to expect when you visit this quirky spot along Route 66.

Have You Visited Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo?

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What is Cadillac Ranch?

Walking Along Cars at Cadillac Ranch

How did ten Cadillacs end tail fin up in the middle of a field?  Back in the early 1970s, three San Francisco-based artists in an alternative architecture group called The Ant Farm sketched out the concept of Cadillac Ranch after being inspired by a book that featured automobile tail fins. They pitched their idea to eccentric millionaires, ultimately securing backing for their project from Amarillo native Stanley Marsh 3.  (No, it’s not Stanley Marsh III, because Mr. Marsh found Roman numerals to be “pretentious.”  Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up!)

Ten Cadillacs from 1949 to 1963 were installed hood down in production-line order to showcase the evolution of the car’s tail fin. When the roadside attraction opened in 1974, the cars remained in their factory floor paint colors.  Over the years that passed, the cars were painted various colors, from gray to pink, but each time graffiti quickly appeared. In 1997, Cadillac Ranch was moved from its original location, a wheat field along Route 66, to its current location, a cow pasture along I-40.

Sage Advice:  Are you visiting Cadillac Ranch on a road trip? Put packing on cruise control by downloading this comprehensive packing list!


How to Get to Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas

Cadillac Ranch is located on the south side of the I-40 Frontage Road between exits 60 and 62. It’s not particularly well marked, but Google Maps and GPS will provide you with adequate Cadillac Ranch directions. The line of parked cars and other visitors will lead you the rest of the way to this quirky roadside attraction in the middle of a Texas cow pasture.


What to Expect When You Visit Cadillac Ranch

Unless you are an avid Route 66 fan, or have always wanted to spray paint a car, don’t go out of your way to visit Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas. However, if you happen to find yourself on that stretch of I-40, it’s definitely worth a quick stop to stretch your legs and experience it for yourself.

If you do stop at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, these tips will help you make the most of the experience.

A classic Cadillac buried nose first into a field near Amarillo Texas

Bring Spray Paint

This tip is a like telling someone to bring a swimming suit to a pool party. Duh! (But there’s always that one guy, right?) We planned ahead and had some spray paint with us. If you need to buy a few cans of spray paint locally before your visit to Cadillac Ranch, the closest option is the Home Depot on Soncy Road, about three miles east of Cadillac Ranch. 

All About the Base

Because there are layers and layers and LAYERS of paint on each buried Cadillac, start your masterpiece by creating a foundation of white, grey, or another type of primer spray paint.

Take a Picture

Be sure to snap a shot of your spray paint masterpiece, because it won’t last long as others cover it up to leave their mark.

Spray It Forward

If you’re done leaving your mark at the ranch, but still have some spray paint left, pass it along to another visitor.

Spray Painting a Car at Cadillac Ranch

Slippery (and Muddy) When Wet

If it’s rained recently, expect huge mud puddles around the Cadillacs. If you plan to visit Cadillac Ranch after it’s rained, pack a pair of rainboots or other footwear that can withstand the mud and water (without making a wreck of your car).

Don't Be a Pig When Visiting Cadillac Ranch

I was shocked and saddened to see all of the empty spray paint cans, lids, and plastic shopping bags littering the site. Please pick up after yourself!

Cadillac Ranch Near Amarillo Texas at Sunset

Sage Advice:  Here are some other places to explore along old Route 66 in Texas.

Practical Advice for Visiting Cadillac Ranch

Where is Cadillac Ranch?

Cadillac Ranch is located at 13651 I-40 Frontage Road in Amarillo, Texas. This stretch of highway is also known as U.S. Route 66, and was once part of the famed Mother Road that stretched from Chicago to Santa Monica. 

Can you spray paint cars at Cadillac Ranch?

Absolutely! In fact, that’s the main draw to this quirky roadside attraction. Be sure to pack a palette of colorful spray paint and prepare to leave your mark on one of the ten Cadillacs! 

How far is Cadillac Ranch from Downtown Amarillo, Texas?

Cadillac Ranch is about ten miles west of Downtown Amarillo along I-40. It takes about 15 minutes to reach Cadillac Ranch by car.

What exit is Cadillac Ranch?

If you visit Cadillac Ranch from Downtown Amarillo, traveling west on I-40, you’ll take Exit 63 off of I-40 West to reach Cadillac Ranch.

How many cars are at Cadillac Ranch?

There are ten Cadillacs buried nose-first in the ground at Cadillac Ranch.

Is Cadillac Ranch free?

Yes, there is currently no charge to wander out into the pasture and spray paint cars to your heart’s delight!

Can you see Cadillac Ranch from the highway?

Not really. Once you exit I-40 and drive along the Frontage Road to the art installation, you still have to walk a little bit to reach the cars in the field. If you’re interested in Cadillac Ranch, take the time to pull off of the road and make a quick stop rather than watching for the cars as you’re speeding by at 65 mph on the interstate! 

What else is there to see and do near Cadillac Ranch?

When you visit Amarillo, here are some other fun things to see and do in this Panhandle town:

Have You Visited Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas?

What did you enjoy most about the the quirky, roadside attraction of Cadillac Ranch? Do you have any other recommendations to share for folks planning a visit? Share your experience in the comments section below.

Texas Longhorn at Sunset


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6 thoughts on “What to Expect When You Visit Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas”

  1. This looks so cool – like the perfect American road trip as seen in the movies. I’d love to go on a road trip and see all these quirky and cool places and landmarks – but I’m not driving so that I’d need someone to come with me….not an easy task for a solo traveller 😉

    1. I’ll make you a deal: you let me know when you want to take a classic American road trip. I’ll do all the driving if you help me improve my German! <3

  2. You captured the essence of the place well. I always wanted to see the ranch but was a little underwhelmed at first and like you said it was littered badly. I returned on a different day with paint and just enjoyed it for what it was.

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