Quitaque Canyon Trail

Quitaque, Texas

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The Quitaque Canyon Trail is the westernmost segment of the Caprock Canyons Trailway. In 17.5 miles of easy walking along a gradual rise, it takes hikers from the Red River Valley to the top of the Caprock Escarpment. The hike is a scenic tour through the Permian Age and, thanks to the railroad’s need for a steady, moderate 7 percent grade to accommodate freight train physics, hikers can examine the geology of layering in the many bed cuts made by the railroad building crews. After traveling through the ages, the trail ends atop the Caprock, literally a cap of rock that covers the red sandstones and siltstones of the Quartermaster formation. One of the many highlights of the trail is Clarity Tunnel, a fine example of railroad history from the early twentieth century and one of the last railroad tunnels in Texas to have seen train activity.

Quitaque Canyon Trail Professional Review and Guide

"The Quitaque Canyon Trail is the westernmost segment of the Caprock Canyons Trailway. In 17.5 miles of easy walking along a gradual rise, it takes hikers from the Red River Valley to the top of the Caprock Escarpment. The hike is a scenic tour through the Permian Age and, thanks to the railroad’s need for a steady, moderate 7 percent grade to accommodate freight train physics, hikers can examine the geology of layering in the many bed cuts made by the railroad building crews.

After traveling through the ages, the trail ends atop the Caprock, literally a cap of rock that covers the red sandstones and siltstones of the Quartermaster formation. One of the many highlights of the trail is Clarity Tunnel, a fine example of railroad history from the early twentieth century and one of the last railroad tunnels in Texas to have seen train activity."

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Quitaque
Distance: 17.5
Trail Type: Shuttle
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 15 hours
Season: Best in Spring
Trailhead Elevation: 2,600 feet
Top Elevation: 3,200 feet
Local Contacts: Caprock Canyons State Park
Local Maps: USGS Quitaque, Wilson Creek, South Plains
Driving Directions: Directions to Quitaque Canyon Trail

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May 2018