Tips for Visting Caprock Canyons State Park

When I was doing some research on visiting Palo Duro Canyon, I found Caprock Canyons State Park was not far away. I saw that there’s a bison herd that calls this park home and knew I had to visit. During our long weekend in Texas, my friend and I spent one full day exploring and hiking in Palo Duro Canyon and the second full day in Caprock Canyons.

Getting There

We stayed at the Doves Rest Cabins right by Palo Duro. The directions your GPS will likely tell you to get from Palo Duro to Caprock is to travel south on 27, then east on 86. When hiking the day prior, we talked to someone from the area and he shared that going through the canyon on the east side was an incredible view, so we traveled east and then on 207 south to Caprock. The view going down into the canyon (the second biggest in the US) were so worth it, even if it was slightly longer. If possible, I’d recommend the route on 207 South.

The Park

Admission: $5 / adult. We purchased tickets online ahead of time and were able to print the passes to enter into the park on the appropriate day.

Hiking: There’s quite a few different hiking trails in the park. Some easier than others. We did part of a larger trail but you can check out the various options on the Trail Map.

Trailway: There’s a Caprock Canyons Trailway open to those on bike, hiking, or by horse. It’s a total of 64 miles long and goes by this state park.

Camping: There’s primitive camping as well as those with electricity and equestrian campsites.

Scenic Drive: After entering the park, you can follow a scenic road that goes toward the back of the park by all the hiking parking lots with great views the entire way.

The Bison Herd

Back in 1878, a cattleman named Chrles Goodnight started the herd that is now in the park. It was one of five herds that helped preserve these animals in the future and save them from being completely wiped out after all the killing of them in the earlier 1800s.

When we drove into the park, we saw the bison immediately in the grassy area by the visitor’s center. We then saw them by the lake, and along the road and further points on the scenic drive. We had to stop a few tops on the road to let them pass by.

Hiking

I mentioned above, but there’s a variety of trails in the park. We decided to do a shorter hike on the North Prong Trail. This trail connects to a few others, some being incredibly steep up a ridge through piles of rocks. That wasn’t really our jam, so we hiked out and then back the way we came.

The whole time I was so impressed by the red rocks. I felt like I was in Sedona Arizona more than Texas. They views were just beautiful the entire time.

Tips

  • Plan to set aside 1/2 to a full day here.
  • If you’re coming from the north, take the route 207 option because of the awesome canyon views
  • Be careful of the bison. Stay much farther back than you think you need to and drive slowly on the scenic road as they will be on it too
  • Pick a hike that sounds fun and carry a lot of water. Some of the best views in the park couldn’t be seen from the road
  • Book your admission online ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about it later

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