Caprock Canyons Trailway, Texas

Located between South Plains and Estelline, Texas, this rail trail offers a variety of scenery. A Trail Map is available. There is also a Map of the Caprock Canyons State Park that is north of Quitaque. The park has nice single track trails.

I rode the section from Monks Crossing toward South Plains today. I think it is the most scenic because it rises from the valley floor to the caprock. There is one tunnel that is about 520 feet long. It was over 900 feet long, but part of it collapsed trapping a train inside so they excavated a few hundred feet to free the train. The tunnel has wood cribbing and is in good condition. There are also bats in the tunnel so they encourage you to walk, stay quiet, and avoid stirring up dust.

The trail surface was in good condition and varied from small crushed gravel to ballast mixed with dirt and gravel to dirt. It was dry and all of the various surface types were smooth. Horses are allowed on the trail so I imagine it can have a rough surface at times. There are long straight sections such as the 8 miles from Quitaque almost to the tunnel where the trail is straight and the long distance view does not change very fast. I would imagine this could be a very long time to look at the Quitaque water tower from a saddle of a horse.

November 19, 2015 was perfect weather to ride the trail. There was no wind which has to be a first for this part of Texas. Temperatures were in the upper 60’s until sunset. I would recommend this trail in the spring and fall. I think it gets too hot here in the summer.  Here are some pictures.

2015-11-19 14.23.53I can imagine that very few people pronounce Quitaque unless they see this sign or know a Texan. I think my hometown of Pierre, South Dakota could benefit from a sign like this. But that would also take away some of the fun of having foreigners come to town.

The typical trestle. They use channel steel for the rails and dimension lumber for the tread. These were all very nice.

The typical trestle. They use channel steel for the rails and dimension lumber for the tread. These were all very nice.

The water tower for Quitaque is visible about 8 miles in the distance. The trail goes through town.

The water tower for Quitaque is visible about 8 miles in the distance. The trail goes through town.

The trail a 530 foot tunnel. The bats were not in the tunnel today. They must leave when the weather gets cooler.

The trail a 530 foot tunnel. The bats were not in the tunnel today. They must leave when the weather gets cooler.

There are some long cuts and corresponding fill sections.

There are some long cuts and corresponding fill sections. The fill sections had nice vistas.

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Trail maps were located at the trailheads. These were at Monks Crossing about 5 miles south of Quitaque

Trail maps were located at the trailheads. These were at Monks Crossing about 5 miles south of Quitaque

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There was also a pay phone at Monks Crossing. Cell reception for my Sprint phone was tenuous at best. I did not try a call, but one text message went and one did not.

There was also a pay phone at Monks Crossing. Cell reception for my Sprint phone was tenuous at best. I did not try a call, but one text message went and one did not.

There were some good interpretive signs also. The bats in the tunnel had a few signs. There was also a sign for this sand dune turned sandstone.

There were some good interpretive signs also. The bats in the tunnel had a few signs. There was also a sign for this sand dune turned sandstone.

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My riding buddy kept getting longer and longer until he finally disappeared.

My riding buddy kept getting longer and longer until he finally disappeared.

It was past sunset when I returned to the trailhead.

It was past sunset when I returned to the trailhead.