The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Willy, Harley (back center), and Gretchen

Caprock Canyon State Park

We have arrived at Caprock Canyon State Park near Quitaque, Texas. This park is not nearly as well known as Palo Duro Canyon but we were really glad we decided to come here as this is a really nice park!

We had a very nice campsite at Honea Flat Campground with electric and water. I'm embarrassed to admit that somehow I managed to miss getting a picture of our site but it was very nice and quite spacious.  The campsites were well spaced out and our little yard was very private with a picnic table under a shelter, a firepit with a metal ring and a lantern hanger. There is a nice restroom with flush toilets and showers with hot water. There is also a playground. There is a prairie dog town in the field next to the restroom. There is also an equestrian campground (Wildhorse) and two dry campgrounds, South Prong Tent Camping Area and Little Red Tent Camping Area.

Before I go any further, I should tell you that the 14,000-acre Caprock Canyon State Park is the home of the Official Texas State Bison Herd, the last remaining example of the Great Southern Herd.

The 14,000-acre Caprock Canyons State Park is home to the Official Bison Herd of the state of Texas, the last remaining example of the Great Southern Herd.

In the canyons surrounding the Caprock Escarpment of the Texas Panhandle during the height of the infamous bison slaughter in 1878, the descendants of this Texas herd were saved from the brink of extinction when Mary Ann Goodnight, wife of well-known cattleman Charles Goodnight, asked her husband to save some of the buffalo calves from the slaughter. She continued to care for the small herd. At one time, 30 to 60 million bison roamed North America but by 1895, there were only 541 bison left on the planet.

We saw one buffalo on our way into the park. We were also treated to a van tour of the park narrated by park personnel. The bison herd had moved out a long distance from any road so they were not close enough for any pictures. The tour was great though and we learned a lot about the park.

The scenery was spectacular and so very different from other parts of Texas.

Bison were also hunted by prehistoric man in this same area. They drove the bison off a cliff into the area now covered by Lake Theo. Remains of the bison were found in the area preserved in a unique circle formation surrounding the head. You can view an exhibit of this in the pavilion located in the picture shown above.

The kids also participated in another ranger led event about bats.

The Mexican Free-Tailed Bat does a wonderful job of keeping the mosquito population under control. Bats avoid people so the old wives tale of bats flying and getting caught in someone's hair is totally false. We all learned a lot about bats during the talk.

The ranger also had the kids play some partnering games where one was the mom and one was the pup and they had to find each other using sound and smell techniques. They had a lot of fun.

Not a real buffalo of course but I didn't manage any pictures of those although we did see them twice. The second time was when a large male sauntered along the road across from the restroom in our campground. Steve and the kids also found a place where one spent the night when they took a walk on one of the trails.

Lots of hungry mouths here where swallows were nesting under the wide eave of the park office.

Lake Theo has been so dry for the last few years that the rangers were actually mowing it until all the May and June rains Texas recently experienced. It is now more than full. It's a popular fishing place.

The views were amazing and the pictures just don't do them justice.

We really enjoyed this park and highly recommend it. The kids earned a Junior Rangers certificate and learned a lot about the park and the history of the area. We spent two nights here before moving on to Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

1 comment:

  1. Good to know. We will have to check out this park. We plan to go to Palo Duro Canyon in October for a Volksmarch weekend.


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