Texas: Caprock Canyons State Park (2020)

Caprock Canyons State Park is less than a 2 hour drive from Amarillo, so we headed there to check out the views and the bison. This post is focused on the views and the landscape.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department requires advance reservations, even for pass holders like us, so we made a reservation late last week. Due to social distancing, the state park capacity is limited, and the reservation system keeps the crowds low. It made for a nice visit to the state park, even though it was one of the hottest days of the year.

Visitor Information Center

We checked in at the visitor information center to get our vehicle receipt.

Three flags in the wind, with blue skies in the background. The US flag is on top, the Texas state flag is in the middle, and a red Burning Ban flag is on the bottom.
Flags at the visitor information center. The lowest flag indicates there is a burn ban in effect.
A bronze sculpture of a bison against a brick wall.
Bison sculpture at the information center.

Historical marker

Before you get to the scenic drive, check out the roads around Lake Theo. The first road leads to a historical marker about a bison killing field from 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.

We wanted to get to the scenic drive, so we skipped the road on the other side of Lake Theo.

Scenic drive

This is where we spent most of our time. At first, the only bison we saw were sculptures at the amphitheatre area.

Bison sculptures in a grassy field, in a line showing a migration path.
These bison sculptures show a migration path across the area.
There wasn’t much explanation of this display, but I thought it was interesting.

We checked out the amphitheater, which has some amazing views.

View from the amphitheater.
I imagine there are some pretty cool presentations here. The short stool between the rows has a hidden power outlet for a projector.

As we left the amphitheater area, we ran into a couple of photographers who asked if we had seen any bison yet. Nope. But we had a short conversation about local views and hidden gems, once they found out we were new to the Amarillo area. As soon as we left and headed down the road, we finally found the bison! We observed all applicable rules, and stayed at least 50 yards away from them. Since the bison also use the roads, we found ourselves idle in the middle of the road a few times. We found several bison under cover in the camping areas. We safely stayed in the Jeep, and took photos from our seats.

Bob managed to get some with his video camera, so I hope to share video footage when I post the bison photos.

Bob in videographer mode at the turnaround.

Late lunch

We stopped in Silverton on the way back home and got a quick lunch. We got the feeling that this place is packed for breakfast on a daily basis.

Bob waiting for lunch.

Hamblen Drive

The Hamblen Drive is an 8 mile stretch of Hwy 207 on the way to Claude. This route goes through Palo Duro Canyon on the eastern edge and crosses the Prairie Dog Town Fork Red River. When heading north on Hwy 207, the picnic area viewpoint is the best place to get amazing photos. This is one of the “hidden gems” the photographer mentioned at the amphitheater area. While we didn’t stay very long due to the heat, we plan to go back in the fall with cooler weather.

Landscape view with trees and red rock canyons.
Amazing view from the picnic area viewpoint.
Trees and canyons in the landscape.
Another view from the picnic area viewpoint.

Unfortunately, there is only one other pulloff area for photos, and it is very close to the picnic area. After that, it’s plains and farmland until Claude.

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