The Rugged, Rocky Beauty of Caprock Canyon State Park

On one of our journeys through the panhandle of Texas, we spent 3-days at Caprock State Park. The 15,000-acre park is a scenic canyon with a classically rugged west Texas landscape. We visited this area in late February. The temperatures were in the low 30-degrees at night and the 60s during the day. The desert-like vegetation was beginning to wake up to spring but it was still too early in the season for flower blooms.

Our big trips often include destinations to national parks, monuments and recreational areas, but we also pay attention to state parks when we are on the road. Every state we visit has beauty and interesting places. Texas was no exception. We just have to slow down enough to find the beautiful local spots and enjoy them.

Caprock Canyon State Park is a good example of a place in which we did not plan to stop. Basically, we saw a roadside sign one day with the name of the park on it and we decided to followed it.

Upper North Prong Trail Loop

To the surprise of no one who follows this travel blog, our main mission was to find and hike the best trails in the park.

The Upper North Prong Loop was our favorite hike while there. That said, we made a mistake on the trail and missed an intersecting trail we wanted to take. Our plan was to hike to the Upper North Prong Trail along the rim (which we did), then connect to the John Haynes Ridge trail, which we missed.

If we have any complaint about this trail, it is was lack of signage. The trail is not well marked. Apparently, there was no sign on the trail for the John Haynes intersection or we didn’t see it. The result; we ended up on the Upper South Prong Trail where the final 1.5-miles was walking on an asphalt road.

All that to say, it was a beautiful hike despite the misdirection.

On a more positive note, we experienced the highest elevations of the canyon and the lower sections through the waterways on the same hike. The variety of steep climbing, unique rock formations, panoramic views and hiking along the desert stream floor was really enjoyable.

We totally recommend this hike to anyone visiting Caprock Canyon State Park. It is strenuous in places, but is a beautiful trail overall. In addition, we hiked the entire 6.5-mile distance and only encountered one other person on the trail.

This is not a busy trail!

Eagle Point Trail

The next day, we hiked Eagle Point Trail which is an easy-to-moderate hike in the base of the canyon. The trip is a 4.3-mile out and back that has a trail head on either end of it.

Here’s the trick – if you start at the trailhead near the amphitheater, the gravel path is mostly downhill, meaning the return trip is mostly uphill. Obviously, if you start at the other trailhead the reverse is true.

Choose which trailhead you start at wisely!

Gail at the Eagle Point Trail – Natural Bridge

The highlight of the Eagle Point Trail is a natural bridge. We actually walked past it on the way out because the trail runs over the top of it. The best way to know you are there is to look for a bench – and then follow the trail down to the dry river (wash) bed.

Once there, the area is a fun place to climb around and take pictures. For us, it was also the place we chose to eat our lunch.

Steve at the Eagle Point Trail – Natural Bridge

Caprock Canyon State Park Summary

Free roaming herd of Bison populate the park and seeing them was always exciting. There is a good chance of seeing them in the morning and early evening timeframes. Whether you are hiking or biking the trails, be aware that there is a possibility they will be near the trail you are on. If so, do not approach them as they can be dangerous.

Keep a safe distance and respect their space!

Bison at Caprock Canyon State Park

The park has over 90-miles of hiking/biking trails. The trails range from easy to difficult with distances from 1-mile (shortest) to 15-miles (longest). We found the easier hiking paths to be well maintained, comfortably wide and well-marked. As we mentioned earlier, the Prong Loop had an area where water had damaged the trail and the signage in those areas needed attention.

Overall, we enjoyed our time at Caprock Canyon State Park and recommend spending time there to all our readers who visit west Texas!

A landscape image of CapRock Canyon State Park from Eagle Point Trail

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