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Caprock Canyons State Park, 100 miles southeast of Amarillo in Briscoe County, was opened in 1982. It consists of 15,313.6 acres (including the Trailway, a 64.25-mile Rail-to-Trail conversion, acquired by donation in 1992 from a Railroad entrepreneur). This acquisition added recreational adventure, stretching from the western terminus at South Plains up on top of the caprock escarpment to the eastern terminus of Estelline in the Red River Valley. This multi-use trail (hike, bike, and equestrian), opened in 1993, stretches the park through Floyd, Briscoe, and Hall counties crossing 46 bridges and running through Clarity tunnel, one of the last active railroad tunnels in Texas. The 64.25 miles of the Trailway are open to the public from Estelline to South Plains.
This section of the trail begins at Monk's Crossing (MM 284.5) and terminates on the western end at South Plains (MM 301.5). This trail section includes Quitaque Canyon and the Clarity Tunnel and is the most scenic section of the trail's 64 miles. The distance from Monk's Crossing to the tunnel and back is nine miles. A colony of Mexican free-tailed bats inhabit the tunnel with the largest populations from April thru October.
This trail is best enjoyed on mountain bikes, although it provides an ideal setting for running and hiking... and horseback riding. The old railway grade winds through grasslands and across and around some open expanses of canyonland drainages with riparian scapes visible below.
The trail use requires permits (self serve at the trail access points) and overnight permits (available at Caprock Canyon State Park).
There are restroom facilities at Monk's crossing and along the route... and possibly water (carried in and provided in portable dispensers), but it would be a good idea not to rely on these sources. Take plenty of water for your trip.
Fauna: The park harbors numerous wildlife species such as African aoudad sheep, mule, and white-tailed Deer, raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, opossums, porcupines, foxes, and over 175 species of birds. The pride of Caprock Canyons is the official Texas State Bison Herd (the largest herd of buffalo in the state park system) and the not-often-seen Golden Eagles.
Combined with a visit to Caprock Canyon State Park, this scenic Rails to Trails adventure makes for a great outing.
Check out the Triplog.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.