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Created by the Red River, Caprock Canyon State Park, lies about 125 miles to the southeast of Palo Duro Canyon. While many similarities exist between the two state parks, the differences are striking. For starters, this park features the remaining heard of Southern Plains Bison (related to the Bison heard managed in Yellowstone N.P.) who wander the park roads and graze upon the local vegetation. So, keep your speed down and pay attention around every corner, especially at night!
We stayed in the Equestrian Camp (water only, no toilets, no electricity so come prepared with your solar panel). Spacious sites, corrals for horses at each site, and one very squeaky windmill that will keep you awake at night if it's windy, which it always is. Try to get a spot that is NOT right next to it! The campground has a gate to keep wildlife out and horses in. You'll have to open and close it each time you leave/return.
Hiking might just be the best way to see this park, but miles and miles of horse trails offer an unique experience from the saddle. Many trails crisscross the dry washes so pay attention to your trail markers so you don’t get turned around. Opportunities to hike up to the highest point in the park are strenuous but well worth the effort. So too is the hike back to the year-round springs that keep the wildlife running.
The nearby town of Quitaque also has an ice/water kiosk and a convenience store which is less than 5 miles away. The closest town with a real grocery store and restaurants is Plainview, about 55 miles away.
Stopped here just for the night. They provide a means to check in and camp during afterhours using cash or credit card. When we arrived it was dark but the property looked well-maintained and every resident was respecting the quiet-time hours. Our pad was nice and level and all the hookups worked great! We rolled out before the office opened so we can't say much about the people themselves, but the experience was what you would hope and expect.
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.
The RV park is ok sites are almost level. There is a problem with the electricity. I have a 50 amp connection with only one leg so I cannot run both AC units and it is 94 outside. The surge protector I have also says there is no surge protection because of how they have it set up. The office is closed on Sunday and no emergency contact information so you can’t talk to anyone from the park. Do not recommend this park till they fix the electrical problem. I also test 5 other empty slots and they all tested like the slot I am in.
Good access off the highway. Lots of shade in our spot and most others. Bathrooms and showers were very spacious and exceptionally clean. Site was plenty big enough with a gravel base that was level. Workout room and community area closed due to COVID-19. Dog area, playground and pool were well maintained. A very good stop over for one night.