Lakes Trail Region

A short drive north of Vernon lies a humble adobe building that remains a touchstone of the Texas cowboy culture. In 1881 the first Wilbarger County settlers, the Doan family, built a store and home near a low-water crossing of the Red River. They catered to cowhands herding longhorns up the Great Western Trail, America’s longest cattle trail. Doan’s Crossing proved the last chance for drovers to get mail and supplies before entering Indian Territory. Each year since 1884, the public celebrates that trail-driving past at the store with a May Day picnic, the state’s oldest continuing event. A granite monument boasts famous ranch brands. Vernon’s Red River Valley Museum recalls the rich ranching heritage and displays sculptures of noted artist-rancher Electra Waggoner Biggs. The museum also features a replica of her studio and hosts an annual international juried art show. Other exhibits cover archaeology, geology and the development of Vernon. Downtown the Classical Revival-style Wilbarger County Courthouse remains much the way it looked when built in 1928. Across the street the refurbished 1953 Plaza Theater shows current and classic movies.