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Parks & Trails

 

Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument

Alibates tours will be available on a daily basis, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. most days from the Memorial Day weekend through the Labor Day weekend. Contact Lynn Smith at the National Park Service office, 806-857-3151. The NPS office hours are 9:30 to 4 seven days a week. It is important to call to make a reservation. Parties over 15 must have a group reservation.

 

The Flint Quarries are the only national monument in Texas. The tours leave from the Contact Station which is accessed from State Hwy 136 driving from Amarillo to Fritch. Turn left at Cas Johnson Road and following the signs to the Contact Station.

 

Tours of Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument can be scheduled by contacting the National Park Service office in Fritch, TX. 806-857-3151.

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Caprock Canyons State Park and TrailwayCaprock Canyons State Park and Trailway

Located 3.5 miles north of Quitaque, Texas on FM 1065, Caprock Canyons State Park is a “destination park”. Its activities, beauty, history, and facilities are top-notched.

 

Caprock Canyons State Park, 100 miles southeast of Amarillo in Briscoe County, was opened in 1982. It consists of 15,313.6 acres (including the Trailway, a 64.25 mile Rail-to-Trail conversion, acquired by donation in 1992 from a Railroad entrepreneur). The park offers day-use and camping facilities, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, boating on a no-wake lake (120-surface-acres, 30’ deep when full), fishing, lake swimming, a scenic drive, guided tours, and seasonal concessions offering horse rentals. Almost 90 miles of multi-use trails range from the very difficult in rugged terrain to trails with less than 3% grade. About 25 miles of the trails include cliffs and drop-offs, with steep climbs and descents that are recommended only for the experienced equestrian and mountain bike riders. When visiting Caprock Canyons State Park, be sure to check out the audio driving guide to the park. It’s like having a tour guide on your own schedule and it’s free! The audio guide is available for check-out, at the park headquarters, on tape or CD.

 

Caprock Canyons Trailway State Park was established in 1992. This acquisition added recreational adventure, stretching from the western terminus at South Plains up on top of the caprock escarpment to the eastern terminus of Estelline in the Red River Valley. This multi-use trail (hike, bike, and equestrian), opened in 1993, stretches the park through Floyd, Briscoe, and Hall counties crossing 46 bridges and running through Clarity tunnel, one of the last active railroad tunnels in Texas. From June through August, van tours are available to experience the bat emergence from the tunnel. The 64.25 miles of the Trailway are open to the public from Estelline to South Plains.

 

The park harbors numerous species of wildlife such as African aoudad sheep, mule and white-tailed Deer, raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, opossums, porcupines, foxes, and over 175 species of birds. The pride of Caprock Canyons is the official Texas State Bison Herd (the largest herd of buffalo in the state park system), and the not-often-seen Golden Eagles. There is good fishing in Lake Theo for bass and catfish.

 

More information about Caprock Canyons State Park is available on the internet at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/caprock_canyons/

 

Texas Outdoor Family

Texas Parks and Wildlife program to introduce urban families to the outdoors through overnight camping trips to state parks.

Cost: $55 for as many as six family members.

Equipment furnished: Tent, lantern, camp stove, cooking utensils, information packet that suggests clothing and other accessories.

Family furnishes: Bedrolls and food.

Activities: Vary from one park to the next but may include nature studies, hiking, campfire construction, camp cooking, fishing, kayaking, GPS navigation and campfire program.

Caprock Canyons SP, Quitaque, May 9-10

Details: www.tpwd.state.tx.us/learning/bof

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Greenbelt Lake

Located about 4 miles north of Clarendon, this lake offers wonderful fishing, boating, skiing, swimming, and picnicking. With a surface area of 1,990 acres, the clear waters provide great recreational opportunities.

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Lake Mackenzie

Mackenzie Lake, located on Highway 207 between Silverton and Claude, was created in the 1970s when a dam was completed in south Tule Creek Canyon. The dam is located just east of the site of the slaughter of the Indian ponies by Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie’s Fourth Cavalry in 1874.

 

In May 1976, a 2,386-acre park owned by the Mackenzie Municipal Water Authority was opened to the public for fishing and camping. Several boat ramps, campsites, and hookups were provided in the park. In addition, several lots are leased for lakeside homes.

 

The lake is a popular site for camping, swimming, picnicking and fishing. The lake park is also very popular for the mountain bike and ATV trails. The only quartz quarry in this part of the United States is located near the reservoir.

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Lake Rita Blanca ParkLake Rita Blanca Park

The Lake Rita Blanca Park is owned and maintained by the City of Dalhart, (806) 244-5511, and is located on Farm to Market Road 281. The lake provides prime bird-viewing opportunities and is a treat for anyone who loves the great outdoors. The 150-acre lake area has seen many improvements thanks to the diligence of the City of Dalhart. Many more improvements are planned for the next few years. The recently added playground features new equipment. The pavilion area is complete with picnic tables and a stage area. The picnic area overlooks a scenic view of the lake. Facilities may be rented for private parties. For more information, call the City of Dalhart at (806) 244-5511.

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Ozark Trail Marker in Tulia

Ozark Trail Marker in Tulia

The Ozark Trail was an early (1920s) attempt at an interstate highway, stretching from Missouri to New Mexico. Communities agreed to improve roads and erect markers for motorists. The southern route through the Texas Panhandle followed much of what is now Texas Hwy 86.

 

The marker in Tulia is still in its original location, despite attempts through the years to have it demolished. It was repainted in 2007, and still tells the distance to points east and west.

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Palo Duro Canyon State ParkVisit Us

Palo Duro Canyon State Park opened on July 4, 1934 and contains 26,275 acres of the scenic, northern most portion of the Palo Duro Canyon. The Civilian Conservation Corp of the 1930's constructed most of the buildings and roads still in use by park staff and visitors.

The Canyon is 120 miles long, as much as 20 miles wide, and has a maximum depth of more than 800 feet. Its elevation at the rim is 3,500 feet above sea level. It is often claimed that Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the United States. The largest, the Grand Canyon, is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and 6,000 ft. deep.

 

Palo Duro Canyon was formed by water erosion from the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River. The water deepens the canyon by moving sediment downstream. Wind and water erosion gradually widen the canyon.

Early Spanish Explorers are believed to have discovered the area and dubbed the canyon "Palo Duro" which is Spanish for "hard wood" in reference to the abundant mesquite and juniper trees.


Humans have resided in the canyon for approximately 12,000 years. Early settlers were nomadic tribes that hunted mammoth, giant bison, and other large game animals. Later, Apache Indians lived in the canyon, but were soon replaced by Comanche and Kiowa tribes who resided in the area until 1874. At that time, Col. Ranald Mackenzie was sent into the area to transport the Native Americans to Oklahoma. Col. Mackenzie and the 4th Cavalry were able to capture over 1,400 horses belonging to the tribe. After keeping some of the best horses for themselves, the remainder were taken to nearby Tule Canyon and destroyed. Cut off from their only means of transportation, the Native Americans soon surrendered.

In 1876, Charles Goodnight entered the canyon and opened the JA Ranch. At its peak, the ranch supported more than 100,000 head of cattle. Goodnight operated the ranch until 1890. Although only a fraction of its original size, the JA Ranch remains a working ranch today.

See our Events page for a current schedule of events being held at Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

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Rita Blanca National Grasslands

The Rita Blanca National Grasslands, (505) 374-9652, are managed by the U.S. Forest Service and encompass 77,463 acres in Texas, along with adjacent acreage in Oklahoma and New Mexico. Visitors have opportunities to hike, bird-watch, hunt, ride horses, utilize ATVs in designated areas, and enjoy the great outdoors. Picnic facilities are located at Thompson Grove near Texline, Texas.

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Visit UsThe Dallam/Hartley Counties Veterans Memorial

In the Veteran's Memorial Park at 7th Street & Rock Island, Dalhart. This project began with an idea and was funded by donations from the community. The memorial honors Dallam & Hartley residents who served our country in all branches of the military in peacetime or wartime. The entry to the memorial honors those who were killed or missing in action. In addition to the stones containing the names of our veterans, three stones will give a brief history of U.S. Wars and conflicts. The memorial is lighted for nighttime viewing and is under 24-hour surveillance. Each year on Veteran's Day, the XIT Ranger Riding Club organizes a Veteran's Day Parade & Program to honor local Veteran's. The parade ends at the Veteran's Memorial Park, where a special Veteran's Day program is held in front of our memorial. The park features beautiful flower beds that are maintained by the Pedal Pushers Garden Club. This park is also host to the Fiddler's Contest during the annual XIT Rodeo & Reunion and is the center piece of Dalhart during Christmas. Other features include a Gazebo, picnic tables, benches, play equipment, plenty of sidewalks for walking or jogging and lots of room to play.

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10 Commandment Monuments

On October 12, 2007 10 Commandments Monuments were erected on the lawn of the Dallam County Courthouse in Dalhart and at the Hartley County Courthouse in Channing. Funds were raised locally to purchase and erect these monuments. Each granite monuments has the 10 Commandments engraved on it and is accompanied by historic quotes.

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