Explore the most popular Bird Watching trails in Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
21 days ago

Incredible and diverse loop trail. This was one of my favorites in the state. Using Gaia GPS we logged 7.22 miles. The All Trails App indicates the trail is 6.3 so there is a discrepancy somewhere. I would plan for a lengthy and challenging hike. We hiked in late October with high temps in the 70s and still drank way more water than we thought we would. Bring LOTS of water! Sunscreen is critical as well. Definitely check out the fern cave which is just a minute or two on a spur from the main trail.

hiking
23 days ago

I'd recommend checking what the weather was the week before or asking the rangers before you start this. You spend the entire hike going across riverbeds and it's quite sandy. If it has rained recently it will be muddy or you will have to cross stagnant/running water. Other than that, pretty flat trail and runs around 6.5 miles long. Double wide most of the way. I also ran into a buffalo.

hiking
rocky
29 days ago

Caprock has good hiking trails recommend you carry lots of water and be prepared for Incline and decline trails believe me it was exhausting but well worth it!!!

Completed Oct 12 in about 5 hours with a 10 year old- 45 minutes of that was periodic rest. Recommend taking the loop clockwise. Climbing up was safer than if we had climbed down. There is a steeper side up from the Southwest and a more gradual descent that way. Much of the northwest side of the loop is in a washout so be cautious if there is any rain in the area as flash flooding is possible.

Easy trail, mostly flat. We took the spur trail which loops around but continued a half mile out on the rim trail before turning back. Trail is mostly packed truck tracks with many mini trails that offer fantastic views.

Nice day hike, bring water and don’t do it in the summer, I can’t wait to do the trails in the fall.

hiking
no shade
rocky
2 months ago

Bring plenty of water

Take plenty of water and then double it. great views of the canyon and rock formations...make sure to take the off shoot trail to Fern cave..worth it! the trail is not well marked so be sure to have your all trails downloaded.

hiking
bugs
off trail
rocky
scramble
5 months ago

this trail is challenging to us 50+ folks but it was beautiful and worth the effort! After 2 miles in you start climbing over rocks and the trail is sometimes hard to see! we had 1 camel back and 4 bottles of water it was not enough! bring LOTS of water if doing this trail. Fern cave was beautiful but a little hard to get down to. on the way back it was starting to cool off and we had 2 rattlesnakes on the trail sunning themselves! so beware! watch where you step! we enjoyed all the views, wildflowers and trees, when there's heavy rain lots of water crossings! bring lots of bug spray, terrible mosquitos and biting flies!

hiking
bugs
no shade
5 months ago

Nice day hike. Not much shade. Lots of wildflowers. Saw Bison, prairie dogs, burrowing owls, and a roadrunner. Lots of flies so take insect repellent. We did not do the loop, just out and back from the campground.

Fun hike. Takes you from the lower canyon to the upper ridge and if you go to the fern cave you climb down the backside. The fern cave is a little difficult to get to but it is worth it. Make sure you have plenty of water.

Great alternative to going up the ridge. Lost the trail once or twice, but that's on us.

First two miles are easy so we walked in and out. Incredible views with some fun small creek crossings. Canyon is breathtaking from the base where we walked. We stopped after two miles when the trail required some rock scrambling. First two miles are very well maintained and trail is plenty wide.

hiking
muddy
6 months ago

Nice hike, but be prepared to cross the river more than 20 times. after rain, this is very muddy. a little tricky near the Southeast corner due to multiple be spur trails. take the trail up the big hill. you have to climb steeply out of the canyon before the final flat run west back to the parking lot.

This was such a great trail! My fiance and I started through the Upper South Prong Trail and made our way to John Haynes Ridge. Take a lot of water, you will need it. After rock climbing up, it's smooth sail and down after the scenic overlook. You need good hiking shoes, the gravel/rocks are very loose.

Loved this trail. Did it clockwise- Haynes Ridge to Fern Cave then Upper Canyon back to Parking. Beautiful day, excellent views.

Excellent day hike

Incredible hike. Took the Upper Canyon Trail and then returned along Haynes Ridge. Once you get deep into the canyon, you can forget you are in the middle of the plains. Don't miss the short spur hike to the fern cave. Finally, the descent from the top of Haynes Ridge offers great views from the top of the Caprock down onto the plains but the can be a bit tricky trying to navigate.

on Lower Canyon Trail

11 months ago

great hike. it is a 6.4 mile loop, crossing multiple stream beds. Need waterproof hiking shoes. Scenery is great. You see all the rock layers in the stream beds. Beautiful reds and oranges. From parking lot, hike 1.3 miles to an intersection. Left takes you to Fern Cave, right takes you to this loop.

hiking
11 months ago

Great trail with kids. Beautiful views and when you get about a mile and half out you can start climbing as high as you want to your climbing level. Took us about 3 hours to go up to the ridge and back.

Mon Oct 29 2018

We took the South prong to Fern Cave and back. We did not do the loop today. Excellent views. The last 0.5 mile is uphill and rocky to get to the Fern cave, which was well worth it. Fern cave is a shady ledge with water and rocks with ferns growing over the rocks. Good place for a break and food. The entire hike from the parking lot and back was 7.2 miles.

Beautiful amazing hike! Even saw a wild Bison! Hike was more on the moderate side imo but because of the heat I highly recommend you bring a liter of water per person. Main downfall is the trail can be difficult to follow, so make sure you have the offline maps downloaded. Lastly if you're looking to visit the fern cave and doing this trail clockwise, ignore the first "fern cave .2 mi" sign you see, this sign is wrong. Just continue along with the loop and you'll eventually run into another "fern cave" sign that'll point you towards a 100ft spur to the cave.

We hiked the loop clockwise, up the Haynes Ridge, down to the fern cave, and back through the Upper North Prong Trail. The initial climb to the top of Haynes Ridge was exhilarating and view from the top was an amazing reward. The few trail markers we saw showed distances that did not match the park map. Apparently, there is an old map and a new map - you can get copies of both from the park station. The trail markers could be improved. Halfway between B3 and B4 (Haynes Trail is marked as trail B) look up and east. You can scramble to the top of the caprock and find some more spectacular views from 3100 ft. You can miss the Fern Cave if you aren't looking for it. Again, the trail markers could be improved here. The Upper North Prong Trail was a long slog back through a dry creek bed but the beautiful views from the canyon floor, including interesting rock formations and strands of gypsum lining the red rock, made it worth it. Bring sunscreen, bug spray, and water...you'll need it.

This trail has great vistas. Make sure you have enough water, especially in summer months. Some of the distance signs along the trail are certainly incorrect.

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