Jump to content

Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway

Coordinates: 34°26′37″N 101°03′08″W / 34.44361°N 101.05222°W / 34.44361; -101.05222
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Caprock Canyons State Park
View from Haynes Ridge
LocationBriscoe County, Texas
Nearest cityQuitaque
Coordinates34°26′37″N 101°03′08″W / 34.44361°N 101.05222°W / 34.44361; -101.05222
Area15,314 acres (6,197 ha)
Visitors78,978 (in 2022)[1]
Governing bodyTexas Parks and Wildlife Department
Caprock Canyons Trailway
Length64 miles (103 kilometres)
Elevation gain/loss2,776 ft (846 m)

Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway is a Texas state park located along the eastern edge of the Llano Estacado in Briscoe County, Texas, United States, approximately 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Amarillo. The state park opened in 1982 and is 15,314 acres (6,197 ha) in size, making it the third-largest state park in Texas.[2][3]



In 1993, a hiking, biking, and equestrian rail trail opened that stretches through the park through Floyd, Briscoe, and Hall counties. The trailway was created after the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department acquired 64.25 miles (103 km) of right-of-way from the abandoned Fort Worth and Denver Railroad's lines between Estelline and South Plains.[3] A unique feature is the 528 ft (161 m) Clarity Railroad Tunnel.[4]



The park is located in West Texas and has a semi-arid climate. The average January minimum temperature is 19 °F (−7 °C) and the average July maximum is 91 °F (33 °C). The park receives 20.4 inches (520 mm) of precipitation annually.[3]





The area contains badlands with mesquite, cacti and junipers with tall grasses, plums, hackberries and cottonwoods in the canyons.[3]



At the urging of his wife, Charles Goodnight preserved several plains bison from those that were being slaughtered.[5] This herd became one of the genetic sources from which current bison herds descend.[6][7] The herd was donated to the State of Texas in 1997.[8] In 2011, bison were allowed to roam throughout the park, and the Texas Legislature designated the bison herd at Caprock Canyons State Park as the official State Bison Herd of Texas.[9] The herd has minimal cattle introgression.[10][11]

African sheep (Barbary sheep), mule deer, white-tailed deer, coyote, opossum, raccoon, bobcat, fox, porcupine, white-throated woodrat, numerous species of snakes and lizards, and over 175 species of birds including golden eagle, red-tailed hawk and turkey vulture are found within the park. Lake Theo contains bass, catfish, and rainbow trout.[3][12] In the summer of 2012 black-tailed prairie dogs were reintroduced to a 200-acre (81 ha) area within the park.[13]

See also



  1. ^ Christopher Adams. "What is the most visited state park in Texas? Here's the top 10 countdown". KXAN.com. Retrieved November 21, 2023.
  2. ^ Caprock Canyons State Park from the Handbook of Texas Online
  3. ^ a b c d e "Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway". Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Retrieved May 31, 2009.
  4. ^ Lanehart, Chuck (January 28, 2023). "Caprock Chronicles: Clarity Tunnel, the Doodlebug Line and the bats". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved January 31, 2023.
  5. ^ Robbins, Elaine (September 2005). "Where the Buffalo Roam". TPW magazine. Texas Parks and Wildlife. Retrieved January 6, 2022.
  6. ^ Westheimer, Max (May 23, 2019). "The Bison of Caprock Canyons State Park". We Will Not Be Tamed. Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. Retrieved January 31, 2021.
  7. ^ "Texas State Bison Herd to Once Again Freely Roam the Caprock" (Press release). Texas Parks and Wildlife. September 6, 2011.
  8. ^ Kuhlman, Marty (January 22, 2021). "Caprock Chronicles: Saving the bison on the Texas high plains". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved January 13, 2023.
  9. ^ Hatch, Rosie (Ed.) (2022). Texas Almanac 2022-2023. Austin, Texas: Texas State Historical Association. p. 23. ISBN 9781625110664.
  10. ^ "Texas State Bison Herd – Preservation of the Bison". Austin, TX: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Archived from the original on February 21, 2012.
  11. ^ McCorkle, Rob (November 2011). "Home on the Range". TPW magazine. Austin, TX: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
  12. ^ "2013-2014 Trout Stocking Schedule". Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Archived from the original on March 27, 2014. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
  13. ^ "New Residents Arrive at Caprock Canyons State Park" (Press release). Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Archived from the original on March 5, 2014. Retrieved February 28, 2014.