Three Get Ready and Four Let’s Go to Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway

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We apologize for any neck pain that viewing this photo may cause!
  • Website link: Caprock Canyons
  • Cost: $4.00 per day. Kids 12 and under are admitted free.
  • Hiking (25 miles of trails), biking, swimming, canoeing/kayaking, fishing, horseback riding. There is also a great scenic drive.
  • For RV and tent campers, Honey Flat Campground offers water, electricity, restrooms, showers, and a playground.
  • Tent and basic camping areas offer water only, and primitive campsites are also available in the park.
  • Equestrian campground available.
  • Backcountry camping is allowed anywhere along the Trailway. Check the website for Trailway information.
  • When to go: anytime. We like spring and fall.

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Caprock Canyons State Park, located near the small town of Quitaque (Kitty-Quay), Texas, is the home of the official Texas State Bison Herd. In addition to the bison (they have the run of the park, by the way) this park has stunning scenery and is a place to literally get away from it all. Set off on one of the great trails and immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of this West Texas gem.

20181013_154405*Caprock Canyons State Park is:

102 miles from Amarillo, Texas96 miles from Lubbock, Texas170 miles from Wichita Falls, Texas

Our trip is going to start from Lubbock, Texas, as it is the closest city with a major airport.

*Recommended hotels in Lubbock: Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express.

Campgrounds are also available.

*Recommended restaurants in Lubbock:

Cast Iron Grill – 620 19th St. – for breakfast or lunch.

Blue Sky Texas – 4416 98th St. or 3216 4th St. – for the best burgers anywhere.

Mi Taco Village – 220 Regis St. – for good Mexican food.

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Getting There

From Lubbock, take I-27 north toward Plainview, and then continue north to Tulia. At Tulia, take Highway 86 east toward Silverton, and then continue east to Quitaque. Drive time between Lubbock and Caprock Canyons: 1.75 hours.

Note: a visit to Caprock Canyons is an easy day trip from Lubbock or Amarillo, however, we recommend staying for a day or two (or longer) to enjoy everything this park has to offer.

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There are a few accommodations in the area, including a bed and breakfast in Quitaque, a hotel in Turkey (11 miles east), and a couple of RV campgrounds. Here are the website links: Quitaque and Turkey.

Travel tip: there’s a vintage cottage gas station in Turkey that is worth driving the 11 miles to see.

*We highly recommend camping at Caprock Canyons.

*Recommended restaurant in Quitaque: Bison Cafe – 114 Main St. Great food and great service!

Destination: Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway

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Misty Watercolor Memories! Caused by bright sun in the east and a cold front moving in from the west. The unusual lighting turned the red bluffs pink.

We hiked the Canyon Rim Trail on an overcast day. The scenery was gorgeous, but the pictures, unfortunately, do not do it justice. The wildflowers really put on a show, though.

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Looking  down in to the canyon from Canyon Rim Trail
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Wildflowers along Canyon Rim Trail

The scenic drive along the park road enables you to get up close and personal with some the features of the park. Below are a few shots of the beautiful scenery along the road.

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Creek bed with interesting geologic features in the cliff face
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Canyon perspective
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How did nature do that? And those plants!
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Panorama from a viewpoint along the road

Be sure to stop at the pull outs and learn about the park. While you’re at it, stop by the visitor center for books and information about Charles Goodnight and his wife, Mary Ann. They are responsible for preserving the predecessors of the bison herd that calls Caprock Canyons home. It’s a very interesting story, especially since American bison were once on the verge of extinction. We find the bison enchanting, and fun to watch, but always from a distance. These are wild animals that can be dangerous, and it is illegal to approach or feed them.20181013_104329

The video below was taken early in the morning while the herd was walking from wherever they spent the night to a grassy grazing area.

That’s our overview of Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway. Thank you for joining us. We hope that our post has prompted you to visit this great park. As we always say, “Just get in the car.” Please leave us a note and tell us about your trip to Caprock Canyons, or any of your trips for that matter. Maybe you will inspire us to take your trip!

20181013_115714Visit our site every Saturday for another great road trip or travel tip. Better yet, become a follower and receive an e-mail message and link to the site every time we post a new adventure. Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

 

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Get Ready and Four Let’s Go to Death Valley National Park

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  • Website: Death Valley
  • Cost: $30.00 per car for a 7 day pass
  • Hotels/resorts and campgrounds in the park
  • Restaurants and concessions in the park
  • Scenic drives
  • Historic sites
  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • Backcountry camping
  • When to go: winter, early spring, late fall. Visitors should be extremely cautious in the summer months when temperatures rise dramatically.
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Devil’s Golf Course – these “rocks” are actually salt crystals. The Panamint Mountains made a nice backdrop for this shot. Note the alluvial fan at the base of the mountains.

Getting There

Our trip is going to start in Las Vegas, Nevada, which has a major airport and is only 123 miles from Death Valley. Ice down a cooler full of water, grab your favorite road snacks, and let’s go to Death Valley!

From Las Vegas, take I-15 south to Highway 160 west to Pahrump, Nevada.

Travel tip: make a restroom stop and top off you gas tank in Pahrump.

From Pahrump, continue northwest on Highway 160 to Bell Vista Avenue. Take Bell Vista (which changes to Bell Vista Road) west across the California state line to Death Valley Junction and Highway 190. Continue in to the park on Highway 190. Drive time between Las Vegas and Death Valley: 2 hours.

Travel tip: Look for wild burros and horses along Highway 190.

Destination: Death Valley National Park

IMG_2601Arguably, Death Valley holds the record for the hottest temperature ever recorded on earth – 134º F in July of 1913. Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America, sitting at 282 feet below sea level. With an average of 1.5 inches of rain per year, Death Valley also holds the honor of being the driest place in North America. We are used to hot, dry weather where we live, but the 111º F (before noon) temperature when we visited Death Valley felt like a different type of oppressive heat that seemed heavier to us for some reason. With that said, we caution you to be conscious of the weather and prepare for harsh conditions when visiting this park, especially in the late spring, summer, and early fall. Also, make sure your car is in tip-top condition before starting a road trip through Death Valley.

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This is a spring in the salt flats at Badwater Basin, but the water is too salty to drink.

Death Valley is hot, dry, and its spring water is too salty for humans or animals to drink. So why would anyone want to go there? Well, see below…

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Breathtaking Beauty
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Vibrant Colors at Artist’s Palette
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Magnificent Mountain Vistas

When thinking of a desert, one usually thinks of sand dunes and scrubby cactus. At least that is what we envision when we imagine desert scenery. Death Valley is different from other deserts because of its diversity. The park features 11,000 foot mountains, wildflower super blooms after rare rains, as well as sand dunes. Badlands, salt flats, and dry lake beds where rocks race across the parched ground on their own, can also be seen here. With so much to offer, it’s easy to see the many facets of this unique landscape. And speaking of lake beds, all of Death Valley was once a lake. A trip here is definitely worth the time, and it’s not just about the scenery. This park also features oases, historic ghost towns, abandoned mines, and even a castle!

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Badlands of Zabriskie Point
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Salt Flats of Badwater Basin
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Multi-faceted Beauty

Did you know that borax was once mined in Death Valley? The mine was called Harmony Borax Works, and they hauled the borax 165 miles to Mojave, California, using huge wagons pulled by teams of twenty mules. One of the wagons can still be seen at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. The trip from Death Valley to Mojave took ten days and had to have been grueling. Today at Death Valley, there is a park road through scenic Twenty Mule Team Canyon. While the wagons probably didn’t travel this exact area, it is a wonder how they managed to get their animals and wagons through the rugged terrain of what is now Death Valley National Park.

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In Twenty Mule Team Canyon
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View of the terrain and park road through Twenty Mule Team Canyon

Thank you for joining us on our trip to Death Valley National Park! We hope that we have given you some insight and inspiration for planning your own trip to see this wondrous place. That is our goal in sharing our information, after all. We will leave you with one last look at beautiful, otherworldly Zabriskie Point.

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Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Get Ready and Four Let’s Go to Scotts Bluff National Monument

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  • Website: Scotts Bluff National Monument
  • Cost: $5.00 per car
  • Visitor center and Summit Road hours vary seasonally. Check website for details.
  • Summit Road scenic drive. Shuttle available.
  • Hiking trails.
  • Exceptional museum and visitor center.
  • Accommodations and restaurants in the city of Scottsbluff.

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First things first… Please note that we have not misspelled the name of the monument or the name of the city where it is located. Scotts Bluff (two words) is correct for the name of the national monument. Scottsbluff (one word) is correct for the name of the city. Now that we have that cleared up, let’s go to Scotts Bluff National Monument!

Scotts Bluff National Monument is: 96 miles from Cheyenne, Wyoming195 miles from Denver, Colorado — 200 miles from Rapid City, South Dakota

Cheyenne has a regional airport that is served by several national carriers, so our trip is going to start in the capital city of Wyoming.

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Cheyenne Depot Museum

 

*Recommended hotel in Cheyenne: Holiday Inn Express. 

Travel tip: we recommend a stop at the Cheyenne Depot Museum. Learn how this historic depot was instrumental in the development of Cheyenne as well as its importance during the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. Here’s a link: Cheyenne Depot.

Getting There

From Cheyenne take I-80 east via Pine Bluffs, Wyoming. At Kimball, Nebraska, take Highway 71 north to Scottsbluff. Drive time between Cheyenne, Wyoming and Scottsbluff, Nebraska: 1.75 hours.

*Recommended hotel in Scottsbluff: Hampton Inn.

Destination: Scotts Bluff National Monument

The first stop upon arriving at the monument should be the Oregon Trail Museum and Visitor Center. Learn about the significance of the bluff as a landmark for pioneers who were traveling west on the Oregon Trail. This outstanding museum also holds the world’s largest collection of artwork by the renowned artist and photographer, William Henry Jackson. Plan to spend some time here before taking Summit Road to to the top of the bluff.

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Saddle Rock

Drive your own vehicle to the top of the bluff or take the park’s shuttle. There is a trail at the top with excellent views of the features of the monument, the city of Scottsbluff and surrounding communities, as well as the North Platte River. We spent over an hour walking the trail and taking advantage of the great photo ops.

Travel tip: Some vehicles will not be able to navigate the sharp turns and tunnels on Summit Road. For those who have large vehicles or RVs, check with the park before attempting this drive.

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Saddle Rock from above
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From the summit trail, interesting geology

The Oregon National Historic Trail passes through Scotts Bluff National Monument at Mitchell Pass, which lies between Eagle Rock and Sentinel Rock. Wagon wheel ruts can still be seen in Mitchell Pass today.

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This reminds us of the Old West. Can’t you just imagine a wagon train in this picture?
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Eagle Rock
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Sentinel Rock
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Dome Rock
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We have no idea what this bluff is called, but we thought it was pretty!

Now we going to take a short jaunt to another important landmark on the Oregon Trail.

⇒Side trip: Chimney Rock National Historical Site. From Scottsbluff, take Highway 92 east approximately 21 miles, and follow the signs to the visitor center. Chimney Rock is the iconic symbol of Nebraska and was an extremely important landmark to the pioneers traveling the Oregon trail. Learn all about it at the Nebraska Historical Society/Abbott Visitor Center.

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Chimney Rock

Thank you for joining us on our virtual trip to Scotts Bluff National Monument. Please let us know if you have questions about this trip or any of our trips. Leave us a message/comment below and tell us about your own trips. We love hearing from you. Until the next trip…

Travel save, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye 

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Get Ready and Four Let’s Go to Canyonlands National Park

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  • Website: Canyonlands National Park.
  • Cost: $30.00 per car.
  • Camping available in the park. Backcountry camping available with permit.
  • Hotels and restaurants available in Moab, Utah.
  • Hiking, biking, climbing, river activities and backpacking are all popular activities in this park.
  • When to go: Anytime.

Although it is practically next door to Arches National Park, Canyonlands is an entirely different experience! The park’s unique terrain was shaped mostly by the Green and Colorado rivers which converge in the park. The Colorado River then flows to Lake Powell and onward through the Grand Canyon and on farther until finally emptying into the Gulf of California. Ah, the power of water… Let’s go see how it helped to create beautiful Canyonlands National Park. By the way, this trip starts in Moab. Why? Because if you’re already in Moab, then a visit to Canyonlands has to be on your itinerary.

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Getting There

From Moab, take Highway 191 North to Highway 313, then south on 313 to Canyonlands National Park. Drive time between Moab and Canyonlands: 30 minutes.

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Gooseneck Bend in the Colorado River as seen from Dead Horse Point

Bonus stop: Dead Horse Point State Park. Beautiful state park that abuts Canyonlands National Park. Hiking, biking, camping, coffee shop, and store. Yurt rentals are also available. Don’t miss Dead Horse Point overlook for spectacular views, especially the gooseneck bend in the Colorado River. $20.00 per car for a three day pass.

Destination: Canyonlands National Park

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The park is divided into four sections: Island in the Sky, Horseshoe Canyon, The Maze, and The Needles. Backcountry backpacking may be needed to reach some areas of the park. We got to see the Island in the Sky area and The Needles Overlook. Hopefully the pictures below will give you a little glimpse into the true beauty of the park.

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Fins, spires, hoodoos, and mesas as seen from Island in the Sky

IMG_2325To get from Island in the Sky to The Needles Overlook, go back to Moab, then take Highway 191 south to Needles Overlook Road. Nice little hike from the parking lot to the overlooks. Excellent views and photo ops. Great place for a picnic. Drive time between Island in the Sky to The Needles Overlook: 1.5 hours.

Bonus stop: Wilson Arch. Beautiful arch 30 minutes south of Moab on Highway 191. Hike the (steep) hill to the arch, or just pull over for a few photos.

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Wilson Arch

 

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View from The Needles Overlook

We hope that our overview of Canyonlands National Park has given you the inspiration to start planning your own trip. Click the website link at the top of the page for information about the park. While you’re in the area, here are some other parks that are worthy of a side trip from Moab:

  • IMG_2327Natural Bridges National Monument – 2 hours;
  • Hovenweep National Monument – 2 hours;
  • Canyons of the Ancients National Monument – 2 hours;
  • Four Corners – 2.5 hours
  • Monument Valley – 3 hours.

Thank you for riding along with us! Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye  

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2018