Hiking in Caprock Canyons State Park (Day 1)

I decided to go camping for a few nights at Caprock Canyons State Park up in north Texas near a little town called Quitaque. From the weather forecast, I was expecting it to clear up and be cold. I was hoping for some night sky shots before dawn and hiking the canyons during the day. When I got there late Thursday afternoon, you can see that it was completely overcast.


I set up camp and hoped the weather would improve in time for me to get some decent night-sky shots. Caprock Canyons SP is in a very dark night area according to the dark sky website. The moon was to go down around 3:00AM and the Milky Way was to rise before morning twilight. In the morning the clouds were still around but they were starting to break by sunrise.

In the freezing pre-dawn I hiked out to one of the canyon areas. I climbed down to a place above the canyon that I had scouted the afternoon before, set up my tripod, and waited for the sun to peak through the clouds and shine on the cliffs.

Caprock Canyons State Park Texas Sunrise

I set the camera to expose for the highlights so that I wouldn’t lose any of the detail in the sky. I then brought up the shadows a bit in Lightroom.

Caprock Canyons State Park Texas Sunrise Quitaque

I also managed to use the 14mm lens that I was planning for the night sky photos. The below picture is at 14mm compared to the photos above which were at 24mm.

Caprock Canyons State Park Texas Sunrise Quitaque

I climbed down into the canyon and got terrifyingly close to the edge of some cliffs for some photos. Below is picture looking down one the cliffs. The sun was in and out of the clouds.

Caprock Canyons State Park Texas Sunrise Quitaque cliffs

The heavy cloud cover quickly moved in again and I went back to prepare for a day of hiking. On this day I went on trails for about 6 miles that mostly wound through canyons and river beds. The below picture shows a tiny canyon that runs along side part of the trail until it get to the pass in the distance. One of the primitive campsites is beyond that ridge.

Caprock Canyons State Park Texas hiking trail

I also hiked along the river bed. The walls of the canyon are lined with layers or what I guess is quartz. I tried to take advantage of this to put some natural lines down through my pictures.

Caprock Canyons State Park Texas hiking trail river bed

Caprock Canyons State Park Texas hiking trail river bed

I packed way too much in my backpack for this long hike. I included a coat that I didn’t really need for long, a pouch with my heavy 70-200mm lens, a bunch of water and snacks. This made this 6.3 mile hike through the hills and river canyons much more grueling than it had to be. Lesson learned for tomorrow.

Two animals that are common in Caprock Canyons State Park are bison and prairie dogs. Not far from the campsite, I caught the bison walking through a field of prairie dog burrows and snapped a few pictures.

Caprock Canyons State Park Texas bisonCaprock Canyons State Park Texas prairie dog

More from the next day on my next blog.

6 thoughts on “Hiking in Caprock Canyons State Park (Day 1)

    1. It was very windy yesterday and I didn’t make it up that trail. My tent was about to blow away, so I packed it up and left for home last night.
      I did get a lot more pictures yesterday, but I haven’t had a chance to sort through all of them yet.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I went up the South Prong trail and climb up a bit and the wind was really blowing hard up there. I kind of got worried about that and climbed back down. I don’t handle heights all that well on a calm day. In hindsight, I wish I had tried the north prong trail instead.

        And thanks for your complements.


  1. […] One of the purposes for going camping and hiking at Caprock Canyons State Park was to work on my landscape photography composition. A landscape picture without thoughtful composition, is really a snapshot. This is fine for ‘evidence that I was there’ photos that you might put on Instagram, but I strive for something a bit more artistic. And I am an engineer that questions whether or not I have much of an artistic side. I have a lot more pictures from my trip that I will be posting on a future blog, but I want to concentrate on my efforts from the first day here. […]


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