Caprock Canyons Trailway

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Old 03-04-18, 07:25 PM
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StephenH
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Caprock Canyons Trailway

In late April, I'm planning a ride on Caprock Canyons trailway. In another thread, tcs mentioned about it being poorly maintained/not maintained in times past. Just wondering if anybody has been out there recently or has more knowledge of it?


https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/c...nyons/trailway
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Old 04-05-18, 12:12 PM
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I have always hear about poor maintenance but I have never been there.
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Old 04-30-18, 11:58 AM
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A couple of us made it out there and rode the lower 32 miles or so, from South Plains to Turkey.

First off, note that the parks people refer to it as a MOUNTAIN bike trail. So it's all flat as a pancake (in a railroad sort of way), nothing technical ever, but it's got a lot of areas that are rough, too.
We rode it on our gravel bikes. I had 43 mm tubeless tires, riding partner was on 38's. We had heard about thorns being a terrible problem, but no flats between us.
The surface varies. There are a few miles (between Clarity Tunnel and Monks Crossing) that are smooth fine limestone gravel. You can make good time on that, with just about any bike.
There are a lot of miles of what appears to be the original roadbed gravel. Slower, rougher, but rideable.
There are a number of miles where clumpy grass makes it very rough. In some areas, it looked like this was the cross-tie pattern, like it never had been adequately graded after removing the crossties. In other areas, just random growth.
We were there on what should have been one of the most popular days (beautiful spring day, and Bob Wills Day in Turkey, no less), and saw two people hiking, saw two apparently abandoned bicycles, and that was it for use of the trail.
We had been warned about guano/ bat poo in the Clarity Tunnel. This was a fine powder, about ankle-deep at the north end. It had been recommended online to put plastic bags over our shoes before going through, but the south end was clear, and by the time we got in it, we didn't want to stop and start fooling with plastic bags. We did do that on the way back, though.
Beautiful scenery on that southern part, and worth the bumpies. I would go again, and may go back and ride the non-scenic northern part at some point.
No water along the trail. Starting at the south, you have Quitaque about 21 miles out, and Turkey at about 32 miles, both have good convenience stores. I think between Turkey and the north end, there are no other services. If you could ride 15 mph, no problem, but if you're bumping along at 6 or 8 mph, you better have a lot of water on that north end. No services in South Plains, so if you start in the middle and go down there, don't expect to stock up down there.
I would say that maintenance of the trail is not an issue, but simply most of it wasn't ever built into a smooth trail to begin with. I don't think it's deteriorated or anything. You do need the proper expectations.
If you go all the way out there, take an extra day or two and go hiking in Caprock Canyons State Park. That was beautiful too. It does look like it could be really hot there, so now is the time to go, not two months from now.
All in all- I'd recommend it, but just be aware of what you're getting into- it is NOT the Katy Trail! Be prepared for some slow riding, be prepared on the water end of it, be prepared for thorn issues, if such there be; be prepared for wind, and in a lot of areas, zero shelter from wind or sun. Take your camera, take a friend, have some fun and some adventure.
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Old 05-01-18, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
No services in South Plains, so if you start in the middle and go down there...
Your terminology threw me for a moment; South Plains is almost 700 feet higher in elevation than Quitaque.

Sounds like they have at least cleared the trailway between Quitaque and Turkey of extensive vegetation, an issue (particularly for derailleur geared bikes) when I rode it last.
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