Caprock Canyons State Park, Quitaque, Texas


This past weekend I thought it would be a great idea to take my wife @dandrasimmons on one of my camping trips with my military buddy @rklika.


What was supposed to be a beautiful trip in a breathtaking environment with plenty of trails to hike quickly turned into a not so great trip for my wife. You see, when Russ and I go camping we like to rough it and maybe push ourselves a little too hard for “men our age” out on the trails.

On Friday evening we arrived at out campsite and started to set up camp. On my recent trips I have found it more enjoyable to sleep in a hammock under the stars and foolishly thought it would be a good idea for my wife to do the same. In theory, it sounded great and she was onboard. Realistically, before she even was able to sit in the hammock she stepped on a huge tree thorn that pierced her shoe and went into her foot about an inch. First aid was provided. Next, it was time for bed. Let’s just say I was awakened numerous times to help her get in and out to go to the bathroom. Oh, and then there was that time she just fell out of it.


The sun finally rose over the park and due to lack of sleep from the previous night we slept in and didn’t set out on our planned hike until 10 a.m. We were supposed to have hit the trail at 7 a.m. As we started the hike, spirits were high and the temperature was not. What we thought was a 4-5 mile hike to a fern cave turned into a 7.5 mile hike with temperatures hitting in the 120’s by late afternoon. My wife was a trooper and made the full hike, but was completely drained and near heat exhaustion. There was a time at the end of the hike that I was praying she wouldn’t collapse. We found out later that this was a freakishly high temperature day and that there were three helicopter rescues and 12 people had to be attended to by paramedics.


My wife is always up for an adventure, but had had enough of this camping thing! We cut our trip a little short.


I did learn that my wife will never go camping with me again unless it is glamping or she is in a camper/rv. I learned that she does not like hammocks or long hikes in high temperatures.


I also learned that if I want to go camping with the guys, all I need to say is that its primitive camping where I am going and I will get a free pass.


There is so much more of this beautiful park to explore and I look forward to hiking its dusty red trails again soon!


Caprock Canyons State Park is three miles north of the quaint Texas town of Quitaque. The park is comprised of 15,313 acres and is the third largest park in the Texas state park system; its terrain is the roughest. The harsh, yet beautiful terrain at the park is distinguished by steep escarpments, exposed red sand- stones and deep, highly eroded and rugged canyons. The park is abundant with wildlife, including bison, mule and white-tailed deer and imported North African aoudad sheep.



Common Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) at Caprock Canyons State Park, Quitaque, Texas.


”Hay sierras debajo de los llanos" (there are mountains below the plains) was a common phrase used by early Mexican travelers who crossed through the area. Caprock Canyons State Park, Quitaque, Texas.


Smooth Caprock Canyons cliff walls on the Upper North Prong Trail at Caprock Canyons State Park, Quitaque, Texas.


Barbary sheep (Ammotragus lervia) in Caprock Canyons State Park, Quitaque, Texas. Barbary sheep also known as the arrui or aoudad, is a species of caprid native to rocky mountains in North Africa. Although it is rare in its native North Africa, it has been introduced to North America, southern Europe, and elsewhere.


A dead tree reaches out amongst the living trees in the canyon's floor of Caprock Canyons State Park, Quitaque, Texas.


Sunrise over Caprock Canyons State Park, Quitaque, Texas.


Dried river bed near the Lower South Prong Trail at Caprock Canyons State Park, Quitaque, Texas.


The canyons in the western part of at Caprock Canyons State Park, Quitaque, Texas, support several species of juniper trees. Junipers are coniferous trees and shrubs in the genus Juniperus of the cypress family Cupressaceae.


South Prong at Caprock Canyons State Park, Quitaque, Texas. Powerful forces of erosion have chiselled away at the easter edge of the High Plains for the last 3 million years. Every spring and summer, severe thunderstorms reduce raging torrents of water that scour canyon walls and etch deeper and deeper into the bedrock. Geologists estimate that Caprock escarpment is being eroded at a rate of approximately 1/2" each year.


Maidenhair ferns grow from the canyon overhang around the natural springs at Fern Cave on the Upper North Prong Trail at Caprock Canyons State Park, Quitaque, Texas.


Caprock Canyons State Park Quitaque, Texas, is the home of the Texas State Bison Herd. At one time, 30 to 60 million bison roamed the North American plains. The vast herds weren’t in danger of extermination until professional hide hunters arrived on the plains. Thus began the “great slaughter.” From 1874 to 1878, hunters decimated the great southern bison herd. Estimates from 1888 were that less than 1,000 head of bison remained in North America.


Caprock Canyons State Park Quitaque, Texas, ranks the third largest state park in Texas with 15,313 acres. Wind and water over the eons shaped the rugged beauty of Caprock Canyons State Park in the Panhandle of Texas.


A lone tree extends out from the rim of the canyon in North Prong at Caprock Canyons State Park Quitaque, Texas.


A rock with its colorful layers lays exposed on the bank of an arroyo at Caprock Canyons State Park Quitaque, Texas. An arroyo, also called a wash, is a dry creek, stream bed or gulch that temporarily or seasonally fills and flows after sufficient rain. Flash floods are common in arroyos following thunderstorms.


Caprock Canyons high red cliffs are made of sandstones and shales from the Ogallala Formation, and crossed by bands of white gypsum, making up the beautiful topography of the State Park in Quitaque, Texas.


Caprock Canyons bottomland along the Little Red River and its tributaries support tall and mid-level grasses including Indian grass, Canada wildrye and little bluestem, cottonwood trees, wild plum thickets and hack- berries.


Common Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) on the Lower South Prong Trail in Caprock Canyons State Park, Quitaque, Texas.


Sunrise at Caprock Canyons State Park, Quitaque, Texas, near Wild Horse camping area.


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