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Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway

Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway

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.[1][2]

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


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.[2]


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.[2]

Flora and fauna

The area contains badlands with mesquite, cacti and junipers with tall grasses, plums, hackberries and cottonwoods in the canyons.[2]

The Park hosts part of the Texas state bison herd.[3] At the urging of his wife, Charles Goodnight preserved several plains bison from those that were being slaughtered.[4] This herd became one of the genetic sources from which current bison herds descend.[5][6] The state herd only contains plains bison which have no cattle DNA.[7][8]

African sheep (Barbary sheep), mule deer, white-tailed deer, coyotes, opossums, raccoons, bobcats, foxes, porcupines, numerous species of snakes and lizards, and over 175 species of birds including golden eagles are found within the park. Lake Theo contains bass, catfish, and rainbow trout.[2][9] In the summer of 2012 black-tailed prairie dogs were reintroduced to a 200-acre (81 ha) area within the park.[10]

See also


  1. Caprock Canyons State Park from the Handbook of Texas Online
  2. "Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway". Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Retrieved 31 May 2009.
  3. Haygood, Mary Lou (2021-01-29). "PARSPA members hear about Caprock Canyon State Park". Plainview Area Retired School Personnel Association. Plainview Herald. Retrieved 2021-01-31.
  4. Robbins, Elaine (September 2005). "Where the Buffalo Roam". TPW magazine. Texas Parks and Wildlife. Retrieved 2022-01-06.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. Westheimer, Max (2019-05-23). "The Bison of Caprock Canyons State Park". We Will Not Be Tamed. Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. Retrieved 2021-01-31.
  6. "Texas State Bison Herd to Once Again Freely Roam the Caprock" (Press release). Texas Parks and Wildlife. September 6, 2011.
  7. "Texas State Bison Herd – Preservation of the Bison". Austin, TX: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Archived from the original on 2012-02-21.
  8. McCorkle, Rob (Nov 2011). "Home on the Range". TPW magazine. Austin, TX: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
  9. "2013-2014 Trout Stocking Schedule". Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Archived from the original on March 27, 2014. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
  10. "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.
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