Caprock Canyons State Park

Caprock Canyons State Park is about 100 miles southeast of Amarillo on the western edge of Palo Duro Canyon. The park is big, red and hot! It covers over 15,000 acres including a 65 mile multi-use trail for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The park is also home to a protected bison herd thought to be the most pure-bred bison left in the US.

Caprock Canyons State Park is an area of stark contrasts. The average temperature in January is only 19F while the average high in July is 91F. The park gets only 20″ of rain per year but most of it comes down all at once from thunderstorms in the plains. The area is most noted for the bright red sandstone and siltstone of the caprock escarpment as you can see in the image below. It’s hard to believe just how “red” this canyon is unless you see it up close and personal. It’s also hard to believe how much heat this red sandstone will absorb during the heat of the day. Hikers had better bring plenty of water to this park. I went through three liters in less than four hours during my hikes.

If you can stand the heat the park offers an amazing array of photographic opportunities during the early morning and late afternoon. If you’re traveling through the Texas panhandle, this is a great place to explore.

View Location on Panoramio & Google Earth: Caprock Canyons State Park, Texas

Caprock Canyons State Park

Caprock Canyons State Park – Quitaque, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on Aperture (Av) priority using an EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 35mm, f/16 for 1/50th of a second at ISO 100 with a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter and 3-stop graduated neutral density filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

10 thoughts on “Caprock Canyons State Park

  1. I grew up in Quitaque TX and worked in the park as a park ranger in 1982. from the picture it has not changed and I think it is still one of the most beautiful places God made.

    • Stephen,

      Thanks for reading. Caprock Canyons is an incredible place to explore. I agree with you 100%. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.


  2. This wets my appetite even more to visit the area for the next vacation my wife and I take . I have known about Palo Duro Canyon State Park for a while; but, I did not know about Caprock Canyons until I started going to your blog. Thank you.

    Would the temperatures be milder during the spring and autumn?

    • Cornell,

      Thanks for reading. I recommend the late fall for the best conditions in the canyons. By late October or early November the colors begin to change, the temperatures begin to fall and the canyons really come alive. If you want to see some real beauty in the canyons pick up a copy of Wyman Meinzer’s book Canyons of the High Texas Plains, published a decade ago. It’s some of the best shots from the canyons I’ve ever seen.


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