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.
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.
This is where we spent most of our time. At first, the only bison we saw were sculptures at the amphitheatre area.
We checked out the amphitheater, which has some amazing views.
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.
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.
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.
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.