Bison graze just beyond the main road as we enter Caprock Canyons State Park northeast of Lubbock. They loom large, dark, and shaggy against the tawny open range on a late-September afternoon. It looks like a scene out of the Old West.
A 64-mile trail system that runs between Estelline and South Plains, the Caprock Canyons Trailway is divided into six trail sections from five to 17 miles in length, as shown below. There are eight trailheads, or beginning points, accessible from farm-to-market roads and state highways. (For a detailed map of the Trailway, see the website below.)
Travelers on the Caprock Canyons Trailway sometimes feel they’ve tipped time’s arrow on its head. Following the path of an abandoned rail line, the 64-mile trail system takes hikers, cyclists, and equestrians across the region’s halcyon backyard, into the agrarian plains and broken rangeland of caprock country, and out of this century completely.
Take a hike. Rather than a brush-off, to me this sounds like an invitation to have a great time. Hiking offers one of the most accessible and versatile ways to enjoy the outdoors. Naturally, Texas boasts an amazing array of hikes for every taste and ability—from strolls of less than a mile to treks longer than 100 miles, through thick woods or open country, on high mountain slopes or smooth, flat shores. Here’s a selection of 10 of my favorites.
The tornado struck with scant warning at sunset, leaving a bevy of onlookers breathless—and the local bug population decimated. Pouring from a limestone cave still warm from the day’s bright sunshine, hundreds... thousands... millions of little critters flew in circles faster and faster, higher and higher—a living whirlwind of furry bodies and rustling wings—before streaming off to the north in search of dinner.
Scores of cliff swallows billow out of the canyon, forming a swirling, 100-foot column above the rim. Just beyond the tips of my hiking boots, the blood-red canyon wall, bathed in late-afternoon light, drops 160 feet to the broken string of shallow pools that make up Holmes Creek.