If you’re looking for a camping home where the buffalo roam, look no further than Caprock Canyons State Park. Located in the Texas panhandle, 100 miles southeast of Amarillo, Caprock Canyons is a land of vibrant shale and sandstone cliffs and canyons at the transition between the high, western plains and the sprawling, eastern grasslands. After serving as cattle and ranchland for nearly a century, and a railroad passageway in the mid-1900s, the area was designated as a state park in 1982 to protect the diverse landscape and serve as a wildlife preserve for native bison, pronghorn and white-tailed deer, in addition to almost 200 species of birds.
Whether you favor a developed camp area with plenty of amenities, or a more primitive setting with more seclusion, Caprock Canyons offers seven different campgrounds for parking your RV or pitching your tent. In the southern part of the park, the Honey Flat and Lake Theo campgrounds have 44 sites available; the former provides 30- and 50-amp hookups and shower facilities. In the more rugged western part of the park, the Little Red, South Prong (two locations) and North Prong camp areas offer 80 walk-in and hike-in tent sites. These primitive sites have vault toilets, but no water or trash. The Wild Horse area has 12 sites for equestrian campers. Campsite rates range from $12–$22/night.
With nearly 90 miles of trails inside the park, there is no shortage of wandering options, from casual river walks to strenuous canyon hikes. If that’s not enough, there’s another 64 miles of hiking, biking and riding on the adjacent Caprock Canyons Trailway. This scenic railroad route turned multiuse path crosses numerous bridges and passes through a bat-filled tunnel. Wildlife aficionados can go on the lookout for some of the region’s raptors, songbirds and waterfowl, or observe the resident Texas State Bison Herd. For cooling off in the warm summer season, there’s swimming, fishing and paddling at Lake Theo. You can even take a park tour on an open-air shuttle.
Do not tent camp here. They will mislead you and then give you a huge fine!!! When we booked the campsite as a fun activity for our pandemic fatigued 6-year old granddaughter, they told me our car would be close to our campsite. We get there at 4 on a Friday afternoon in November and we were the only people in sight! When we booked, they told us to go into the park and find our tent site by ourselves because park personnel were avoiding interacting due to Covid. We got to our sight and found the gate locked to the whole area. It was clear people had driven around the gate several times. Thinking they had forgotten their sole campers for the night and had not come and unlocked the gate, we drove around it. We were very concerned about having to put up the tent in the dark, which was descending upon us. We went down a road to our campsite. While we were unloading, a state police officer came and gave us a$200 fine for going around the gate. It was devastating and disappointing. We wanted our granddaughter to have some fun during all the pandemic restrictions. We were treated horribly.
We stayed in the South Prong Tent Area, not to be confused with the South Prong Primitive area (which you have to hike into).
We stayed on site SU037. There is no tree cover, which is ok if you want that morning sun warmth, but know that if it gets super windy (which apparently happens a lot here), your tent will need to be stable. Gusts up to 53 mph were reported when we stayed.
The view is outstanding at this site. You are not able to drive into the site; there are parking strips blocking the way. So you have to walk your gear in about 60 feet. To me, this is suitable for a ground tent but not a roof top tent or camping trailer.
There is easy access to great hiking trails, which this area is known for. If you want to see some great views, be sure and pack a lot of water and snacks and start early.
There are also free roaming bison everywhere. We even had one come into the camp ground while we were making pancakes, but he just observed from a distance and moved on.
In site SU037, there isn’t a huge distance from each site, so if it was fully booked, expect to hear your neighbors.
There was plenty of small trails and area for the kids to explore, but be mindful of the small cliff about 70 ft from the back of the campsite.
TP was not stocked in the vault bathrooms, so bring your own.
Overall we would stay here again. The view was amazing, great hiking, clean air, geological interest, quiet.
My son and I spent a night here and it was great! I’d recommend south prong primitive sites. Got to sleep right at the base of the canyon and there was plenty of space between the campsites.
My only problem was that some of the trails were not very well marked. It took us a while to find the right trail heads and even longer to find some of the more scenic sites (You’ll walk right over the natural bridge without realizing it!).
Overall, was very happy and will definitely come back.
Oh! And there are bison everywhere! Super cool.
Wild Horse Campground Spot 74
I showed up at the welcome center with a reservation for primitive camping, not realizing the only spot to set up my RTT would be the parking lot. A nice lady working the desk, slide me into a spot that had cancelled earlier that day at the Wild Horse Campground.
Wild Horse is the equestrian camp and each spot has horse pens, picnic table, fire ring(though burn ban was in effect while we stayed) and water. No restrooms. The campground is behind a drive through gate that you have to close to keep the buffalo out.
Only one slot had horses while we were there. Several had mountain bikers staying in them. Everyone besides us and the horse folks were in ground tents. Plenty of room for us and the horse trailer setup didn’t look too cramped either. Slots are well spaced out, but not much privacy– see tree comment below.
Not much shade to be had except what little you get from scrubby mesquites, but if you are looking for lots of shade, this probably isn’t the park for you. The park itself is great. Easy to get around. Lots of well-marked trails. Bring water and what for snakes. Gorgeous canyon views and features.
Very quiet after sundown.
Quitaque(kitty-quay) is a couple of miles from the main entrance and has a convenience store, a grocery store and a couple of cafes. We drove ten miles further to Turkey, Texas for dinner– very cool setup at Hotel Turkey. Good food, good music and fun casual outdoor atmosphere. Be sure to check their website for hours. Speaking of website, we had no service on Verizon cellular except very slow spotty connections from 10 pm to 7 am. Service in Quitaque and Turkey was very spotty and very slow.
Definitely glad we stopped here. Wouldn’t hesitate to do so again.
Stayed at South Prong Tent Camping area, site 37. Star gazed at the Milky Way for hours. Heard coyotes yipping at night and the bison herd walked through our site around five in the morning. Was the most amazing experience to be so close and hear them. Front desk staff were very nice as well. 10/10 coming back soon to spend a long weekend.
We LOVED camping here. We spent one night at the Little Red Campground, which has a surreal view down into the Red River. Our site had a covered patio, table and running water, and short walk to the outhouse (but no restroom with sinks). Sites were pretty private due to dense bushes and space between them.
The ranger closed that area due to COVID, so we drove downhill to the Lake Theo campground for 3 nights. We had a great waterfront site on the very far east end, it was just a bit of a walk to the restrooms and showers. People camping nearby were respectful, but it’s not as private as the Little Red Campground. But no complaints at all, it was amazing to hear dozens of coyotes in the evening and early morning.
The hiking was amazing here!!!
Spent 3 days here. Loved every minute of it. Beautiful landscape.
Beautiful park. Clean heated bathrooms. Tons of Bison and the views cant be beat. We stopped here on a whim and the campground was full. They were able to accommodate us for the night dry camping in the equestrian section. Was nice, not many people camping there. Staff were all super helpful and nice
This is a really great campground. I would have given it 5 stars but the dump station is out of order and has been for a long time. The sites are very spacious. The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. The trails are well kept and plentiful for walking, bikes, horses. The lake is nice as well. And don’t forget the bison freely wandering through the campground. And the canyon views are so beautiful
We stayed here on the way to Colorado. It’s about a one day drive for us from Austin Texas. The park exceeded our expectations for experience and amenities. We arrived at 7pm and the ranger station and visitors center was still open. They have a small gift shop and your can also rent items including fishing rods for the well stocked fishing lake. The views of the red canyons are worth the visit. The morning sun light on the canyon is incredible. The hidden surprise is the huge herd of bison. They congregate around the main entrance at sundown and you can get very close in your car for some great shots. The site was perfect for our sprinter van with privacy between the sites, water, and electric. We don’t need water or electric but find these larger sites provide some space and privacy. The sites have picnic tables, sun shades, and hooks for hanging clothes lines or drying out tents. We visited in July and the outdoor temp was 94 degrees at 9 pm. So you need to plan your visit if you are tent camping or you can ac is limited. They have great facilities including RV dump station and clean restrooms with showers. Lots of folks travel to Palo Duro which is just up the road but Caprock has a lot to offer. We plan to come back in the Fall to do some hiking and camping. Another good Texas State Park. The town of Turkey Texas is close. This looks like an interesting stop with cafes and a nice theater.