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Camping in Texas: Lake Mackenzie

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Lake Mackenzie is a municipal water district reservoir located about seventy miles southeast of Amarillo, Texas. The water district manages campgrounds and recreation areas around the lake. RV with electric and water hook ups and tent camping are available here. (Campers, the campgrounds were nice and clean, but the bathrooms/showers were very dirty.) Currently, speed boats and skiing are prohibited due to low water levels, however, pontoons, kayaks, and motorized fishing boats, as well as jet skis are permitted. We suggest checking with the lake regarding water levels and boating regulations prior to arrival. Lake Mackenzie is a popular fishing lake. There are two beaches for swimming, picnic areas, miles of ATV trails, and group facilities. This is definitely a place to kick back and relax.

For information and fees, here’s a link to the website: Lake Mackenzie

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Interesting West Texas history

We enjoyed camping at Lake Mackenzie. The relaxing atmosphere was perfect for a weekend trip. During our stay, we saw several deer, a raccoon, a fox, and many different birds.

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This mama and baby mule deer pair walked right through our campsite
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This beauty got up early to watch the sunrise with us. You would think we had never seen a deer before, but it’s still a thrill to see them in their habitat. We love their curiosity…and their big ears!
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Four Canada geese and their early morning reflections on the lake

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Side trip: Caprock Canyons State Park is about forty minutes southeast of Lake Mackenzie. (Link to our Caprock Canyons post here: Three Get Ready and Four Let’s Go to Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway.) Caprock Canyons is home to the Texas State Bison Herd and is a can’t-miss state park. Go not only for the beauty of the red cliffs and canyons, go to see the bison. There is a wonderful scenic drive and miles of hiking trails, too.

When we camp, we love to get up early for the sunrise, and the Lake Mackenzie sunrises did not disappoint. Neither did the sunsets. We were also treated to two brilliant harvest moons, but unfortunately those didn’t photograph well. Here is our favorite sunrise shot:IMG_5563And, our favorite sunset shot:IMG_6823

The scenery is breathtaking as you enter the canyon on approach to Lake Mackenzie from the south. It reminded us a little of the area around Moab, Utah, specifically Canyonlands National Park, with its red rock fins, buttes and hoodoos. Y’all know how we love red rocks!IMG_5569IMG_6754IMG_5566

Here are a few more shots of the lake:

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Pontoons on a sunset cruise
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Cloudy reflections near the beach

That’s going to do it for this weekend trip. We hope you enjoyed Lake Mackenzie as much as we did. Please join us next time for another adventure, tip or trick. You are the reason we post our trips. Become a follower so you never miss a post, and follow us on Facebook, too. 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.

©2019

 

 

 

 

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