RVers looking for a Texas-sized adventure in the panhandle area must plan a visit to the scenic Caprock Canyons State Park. Located in Briscoe County, Texas, this treasure of a park is loved by campers of all ages thanks to the multitude of activities available throughout the year. The history of Caprock Canyons State Park dates back to pre-European settlement when various Native American tribes lived within the area before Spanish exploration in the mid-1500s. Before becoming part of the state park, most of the land in the area was for cattle until the state of Texas purchased it back in 1975. Caprock Canyons State Park operates year-round and is most busy during the spring, summer, and fall. The park has many unique facilities and explorable historical landmarks, most notably, the state of Texas Official Bison Herd. The herd, some of the last remaining members of the southern plains bison species, were relocated to Caprock Canyons State Park in 1997 after JA Ranch donated what was left of their herd to Texas Parks and Wildlife.
The park has popular activities that bring people to the facility. There is an extensive trail system with over 90 miles of trails, water-based recreational activities on Lake Theo, and ranger-led programs. Camping options are abundant at Caprock Canyons State Park, with one developed campground, one equestrian-friendly area, and plenty of primitive spaces. RV campers are welcome to stay in the park year-round.
Caprock Canyons State Park is located around 102 miles south of Amarillo, Texas and is easily accessible from both the north and the south. The most common way to get to the park is from the south, where the main entrance and Visitors Center can be found.
If you need to pick up any supplies before your adventure, there are plenty of places that you can visit, including Quitaque (around six miles away), Turkey (about 16 miles away), and Silverton (approximately 23 miles away).
All of the roads to the park and in the park are all-weather roads with paved surfaces, so you should have no trouble driving on them no matter the season. Many different unpaved roads can take you to the park, but we recommend that you exercise extreme caution and avoid unpaved roads if possible. The roads outside of Caprock Canyons can be very muddy and slippery after periods of excessive rainfall. For RV travelers just coming in for the day, there is plenty of parking available in a lot next to the Visitor Center. There is also a parking lot by Theo Lake that is perfect for those wanting to hang out by the water.
The home of Buddy Holly, Lubbock, Texas, is an excellent option for RV lovers wanting to stay outside of the park during their visit. Home to the Museum of Texas Tech University, the Science Spectrum and Omni Theater, the Lubbock KOA is located outside of the city limits, but just minutes from downtown.
With its mature shade trees, Lubbock KOA is an oasis in the middle of the West Texas Plains. The campground can support RVs up to 68 feet in length, and there are a variety of different site options to suit almost every need. These include water and electric only, full hookup, and pull-through sites. You also have some great amenities to keep you entertained during your stay, such as the indoor heated pool, a hot tub, drive-in theater, basketball, and volleyball courts.
Lubbock KOA is fun for kids of all ages, with a playground and snack bar, too! Stay connected with Wi-Fi and cable TV, and enjoy all the comforts of home with restroom and laundry facilities, and a general store. Reservations can be made online before your arrival, and the campground is open year-round.
Equestrians who wish to sleep in a horse-friendly campground can reserve a space at the Wild Horse Campground, a more primitive camping facility built for you and your horse. Tents, trailers, and motorhomes are allowed at these sites, and there are a maximum number of eight people and horses combined per site. Non-equestrian camping is also permitted, but since there are plenty of other sites available it is not usually necessary.
Each campsite at the Wild Horse Campground has a picnic table, fire ring, and two 10x20 horse corrals that can hold one to two horses each. There are no hookups and no restrooms in this camp loop, and the only water on site is for horse use only. Trailers and motorhomes up to 50 feet are allowed in this campground. Please contact the campground for more equestrian rules before booking your stay. The park asks that you quiet your generators between the hours of 10 PM and 6 AM to celebrate nature’s noises.
Campers who want an upgraded camping experience should reserve an RV spot in Honey Flat, a premium camping location, and the most popular RV campground at Caprock Canyons State Park. The sites here are considered premium locations because of the amenities offered within the two camping loops. The first 25 sites in the campground have water hookups and 30-amp electrical service, while sites 26 to 35 have water hookups and 50-amp electrical service.
Both loops have spaces with shade shelters, picnic tables, fire rings, a lantern post, and access to restrooms with hot showers. RV spaces up to 40 feet in length are available in the Honey Flat Campground and, there is a dump station located near the entrance to the campground. We recommend that you make a reservation as the campground is known to get busy during its peak season.
Bring your handheld GPS devices and the supplies you might need for a day outside on the trails for a day full of geocaching fun! This modern-day scavenger hunt will take you to some hidden areas inside the park where you may be able to find unique prizes. Find your coordinates on the Geocaching website, and begin your hunt inside of the park. Because wildlife (such as snakes) are present inside the park, always be aware of your surroundings when picking up a cache.
All of the trails in Caprock Canyons State Park are multi-use trails (unless otherwise indicated) that meander through scenic canyons and past wildlife habitats. Visitors can bike, hike, and horseback ride on 11 trails. These trails cover more than 25 miles and have difficulty levels ranging from easy to challenging. We recommend printing the well-labeled and color-coded maps or picking one up at the park ranger station or office. When hiking, biking, or riding on the trails, remember to take a gallon of water per person with you.
Caprock Canyons State Park is home to many different wildlife species. Visitors might spot pronghorn antelope, grey fox, mule deer, coyotes, bobcats, raccoon, or jackrabbits. Reptiles, including 14 species of lizards and over 30 species of snakes (including rattlesnakes), reside inside the park. Over 175 species of birds also live here, and many of the waterfowl use Lake Theo for a source of water.
Besides the occasional animal sighting, there are two species in the park that people go out of their way to see. The Texas State Bison Herd roams over 10,000 acres inside of the park. These bison have a rare genetic makeup and were once almost killed off by hide-hunters between the years of 1874 to 1878. The Mexican free-tailed bat is the other most popular animal to try and spot, and the bats can be found in the Clarity Tunnel on the Trailway.
If you have a small, engineless boat, or you enjoy fishing from a pier, then you will like the relaxed fishing experience that you can have on Lake Theo in Caprock Canyons State Park. The park rents fishing poles if you don’t have your own gear, which means that all visitors can enjoy fishing. If you are lucky, the park may even have some worms for sale that you can use for bait too! Please note that a fishing license is required of anyone who fishes in the public waters of Texas.
During your time at Caprock Canyons State Park, you might be lucky enough to be present when one of the special events is taking place. There are many classes, events, and educational opportunities held throughout the year. When you arrive and set up your rig, it's a good idea to head over to the park ranger station to check the events calendar for updated event information. Some of these may include a guided hike, a hands-on learning experience with bones and skulls of the animals native to the area, or learning about Caprock Canyons State Park history through a series of narrative stories.
During the hot afternoons of spring, summer, and fall, Lake Theo is the perfect place to cool off. Swim or boat in the no-wake lake, and see the park from a different view: from the water! The swimming area is located next to restrooms and a playground. Visitors should swim in designated swimming areas only. The park recommends that all swimmers wear personal floatation devices as there are no lifeguards on duty. There are no boat rentals at the park, so you will need to bring your kayak or canoe for a day of paddling.