I have been in Texas the last two weeks near Lubbock and was going stark raving crazy because there isn’t anything around that even resembles a mountain. With a little research I found Caprock Canyon State Park. This is very much like Palo Duro State Park in that it is along the western edge of the Llano Estacado. This is an uplifted area that encompasses eastern New Mexico and Northwest Texas. The Spanish called it “Hay Sierras debajo de los llanos” - There are mountains below the plains. It has the word mountain in it and that is good enough for me, I am desperate. This park about 90 miles from Lubbock is within a day’s striking distance and has about 30 miles of trails.
The first days hike was with a friend from Lubbock who could navigate the back roads to get me there. We decided on a loop hike along the Upper South Prong and Upper North Prong of the Little Red River for an 8 mile loop hike. We didn’t know it but there are 3 what they call challenging hikes in this park and we picked two of them. I didn’t think they were all that challenging but they did get your heart rate up. The area sort of reminds me of a mini Sedona without all of the tourist, busy town and traffic; actually I guess it was nothing like Sedona except for the red rock cliffs. The day was overcast so even though it was rather humid by Tucson standards it was pleasant.
The rock formations were quite interesting, red sand/mudstone with white gypsum bands cutting through them horizontally with an occasional diagonal one for variation. On this hike we did come across 1 lone buffalo in the upper south prong canyon. After leaving South Prong Canyon and crossing over John Haynes Ridge we headed down the Upper North Prong Canyon with a stop at Fern Cave. Actually more like a cove, covered in ferns as the name implies. There is a water fall that comes down over the cove but when we were there it wasn’t flowing, would be neat to see that. We continued down the North Prong with more interesting rock formations and returned to our starting point along the North prong Spur Trail. Really nice hike and I got my fix at least until I can come back on my own in two days to finish up some of the trails we didn’t get to today.
average hiking speed 2.44 mph
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.