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Caprock Canyons Professional Review and Guide
"About 90 miles NE of Lubbock. An easy day hike or overnight trip in the red rock canyons of the caprock's edge. Special Attractions: Red rock formations, views. Permit required for camping."
--Laurence Parent, Hiking Texas (Falcon Guides).
Hiked into the North Prong campsite late afternoon, beautiful vistas. Got up early and hiked up the Haney ridge trail. It is very steep and difficult, took about 40 minutes with pack on. This was one of the most beautiful hikes I have done in Texas. I think the scenery was better than the south rim of Big Bend. North trail up to Haney ridge is easier than the south trail. A great overnighter. I took 5 1/2 liters of water and that was just enough. I suggest maybe taking more. Water was at the South prong campsite in the river but this has been a really wet year. Not sure you can count on it. No water on the north prong.
Spring hike in Caprock Canyon State Park - Begin at South Prong Camping area trail and do the VERY STEEP part of the trail up to Hayne's Ridge on the front end of the trip. This part of the trail is indeed VERY STEEP. The view from stopping points along the ascent as well as from Hayne's Ridge is spectacular. This was a Spring hike on a day that started out very cool and remained so until the afternoon. Even with cool conditions, the warnings concerning WATER must be obeyed. The least hard trip back is to drop into Fern Cave - again spectacular for West Texas and follow the North Prong Trail back to the North Prong parking lot. Even on weekends, there are few people on the trail. Take time to enjoy the grotto at Fern Cave. The descent to and from Fern Cave is not nearly as severe as going up the trail to get to Hayne's Ridge. The hike back in to North Prong is Easyto Moderate. IN ANY SEASON, CARRY MORE WATER THAN YOU THINK YOU WILL NEED. A true West Texas gem. The distance on this route is about 7.3 miles.
As stated in the other reviews, where the trail states "very steep and rugged", they really mean it. We felt like goats scrambling down a cliff face at some points. There were some places where you have to use both hands or trekking poles to literally climb down. And in the late spring or summer, take more water than you usually do. Having stated all this, we have done this hike twice, the second time by far more enjoyable, as we were better prepared. Good hike, but prepare for a challenge.
HOT and STEEP.
Start early and drink plenty of fluids. Most of you have heard that before, but this might be an understatement. This trail would be more enjoyable in the early spring or late fall. Sunsets are great, but the heat of the sun is not!
The Bonus: Caprock Canyon is home to Texas' only railraod tunnel. The tunnel was established in the early part of last century, and still stands today. Well worth the stop to see a piece of Texas History.
The upper canyon trail is a 7mi loop that starts in the bottom of the canyon. The map notes some extremely steep and rugged areas and it is not an understatement. Best time to leave is early in the morning before the heat sets in. Take lots of water and drink lots before you go. Take water for your pets too! A great hike down at about dusk because the view from Haynes Ridge is a 5 star Texas sunset.
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