When you are about 10 miles away, you will see nothing but flat plains for miles and miles and wonder if you are in the right place. All of a sudden, at about 5 to 6 miles out, you will start seeing the canyons and the hills. It’s quite an eye-opening sight. There’s a reason this park’s nickname is “Texas Grand Canyon.” I visited in the spring following heavy rains and the wildflowers were really glorious. This park would be picture-worthy any time of year but I thought it was very special during the spring.
This huge park is known for it’s cliff climbing and for it’s herd of 100 original Praire Bison. These bison were gifted to the park after being kept by a rancher family for many years (maybe over 100) and have never been inter-bred with bison from other areas or sub-species. If you’re like me, you will also be enchanted by the black-tailed prairie dog city that you get to walk through to get to the bathhouse and by the myriad of cardinals throughout the park.
This park is really big and to be fair, I only familiarized myself with the first campground and the visitor’s center. Although I even saw school busses driving down the road to the interior of the park, I did not take my motorhome on any exploring. If you are an equestrian, there are horse camp setups as well within the park. One of the trails I walked on with the dogs had horseshoe prints along it. There appear to be at least six camping areas, some for equestrians and some very primitive (probably only suitable for small vans or tents, I would assume).
We stayed at the Honey Flat camping area, which has electrical and water with a dump station very close. These sites require online reservations or pay before 9:00 a.m. if you find a site with a green tag instead of a red “reserved” tag. I really liked this campground because the sites were huge and most of them were isolated by large bushes so you couldn’t see your neighbors. A few of them were set up with two sites sharing an open space and I ended up getting one of these. I had actually gotten the last electrical site available online but it wouldn’t have been my first choice because we could see and hear the neighbors very close until they left two days before us.
When you book online, you might note that the odd numbered sites are set up a little differently than the even numbered sites. All of the sites had a picnic table with a wind break. (NOTE: No wind when we were there in April.) On the odd numbered sites, it was windbreak, table, driveway for motorhome or trailer. On the even numbered sites, it was driveway, windbreak, table. So if you want to see your table area from your RV, book an odd-numbered site.
The biggest attraction here, following the canyon hiking trails, are the bison. They let you know at the visitor’s center about staying away from them and that they are definitely wild. They also tell you that the bison will wander through the campground. This was in evidence by the many buffalo patties throughout but we didn’t get any wandering bison during our stay. I even had more than one camper stop me as I was walking the dogs and ask if I had seen any bison.
I was really intrigued by the black-tailed prairie dogs because I had never seen so many in their natural setting. Just to the other side of the bushes and trees are several concrete walkways that lead to the bathhouse/restroom and the dumpsters. These concrete paths span across a huge meadow that is the home to prairie-dog city. They give warning peeps as you start walking by and keep it up until you get very close, then they say, “whoops!” and dive down into their hole. If you stand back and watch, you will see them out running around and enjoying the wildflowers for a snack.
We want our fur family to enjoy our camping experience as much as we do but remember! Be very vigilant at the campground and while out hiking. Keep your dog(s) on a six-foot leash and don’t let them harass the wildlife. Bison look placid and prairie-dogs are cute but they are all wild animals that will bite or attack and they may have diseases. Also, although I didn’t see it, a ranger and another camper told me about a five-foot rattlesnake that was spotted in the campground while I was there.
If you have a chance to hike some of the trails around the campground, you will not be disappointed. I wish we had more time to explore but when I don’t have a sewer hookup, four days is my limit. My favorite trail was the one along the canyon rim on the northwest side of the campground. You can access this near the dump station. It followed the edge of the canyon in an easy but breath-taking walk and ended close enough to the campground that we didn’t have to backtrack.
Be sure to visit the amphitheater area which is a short walk from the campground. It has an interpretive display, as well as a number of hiking trails, including the 2 mile eagle point trail. These trails go down into the canyon so be sure to wear the proper shoes and take water. My big dog was very eager to go, go, go because she loves trails but we just did mini-hikes on this trip.
Caprock Canyon is only a short drive to Amarillo and Lubbock, Texas so during peak seasons, you will want to make a reservation. It is definitely a must-stop place along your travels.