Each Thursday morning of our 52-County Tour we'll send a duplicate of Wednesday's newsletter (ignore if you've already read it) with any updates here.
Caprock Canyons Bison
Caprock Canyons State Park (click to play Texas Parks & Wildlife video)
Texas Co-op Power Jan 2015
Read E. Dan Klepper's story on Caprock Canyons territory   
in the January 2015 issue of Texas Co-op Power

NEW   Read Josie Musico's feature "Oh, give me a home: South Plains buffalo
Bison A-J
have restored habitat, long history" in the Jan. 28, 2015, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (click on photo at right) 

Texas Fifty-Two-Step Tour

THE 52-COUNTY TEXAS PLAINS TRAIL is the largest of the ten Heritage Trails Regions of Texas, an award-winning heritage tourism initiative of the Texas Historical Commission. We help you discover the real places that tell the real stories of Texas--places you'll want to explore on vacations, road trips, hikes, weekend excursions with your family and friends.
Pole Canyon Ranch, Briscoe County (Best of America by Horseback Series)
Watch "Sunday Ride at Pole Canyon Ranch," Briscoe County (Best of America
by Horseback Series)

We invite you to join us throughout 2015 for our Texas Fifty-Two-Step Tour--every Wednesday online, and in person whenever you're ready to hit the road! Follow along with a different county each week, from Armstrong to Yoakum. Visit us at to plan your adventure by city, site, theme, or event. Watch your e-mail newsletter weekly for fun facts, games, prizes, and travel ideas.

Download our THC regional travel guide here (pdf). And we'll see you along the trail!  
Sunrise over canyonlands
Sunrise over canyonlands
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Briscoe County TX 
Click to download a map of the Texas Plains Trail Region (pdf) 
WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM  On this rugged verge of the caprock you'll find some of the most dramatic highway vistas in Texas (especially along TX 86 and TX 207), and in the lush, creek-drained valley below the cliffs you'll find the state's official bison herd at Caprock Canyons State Park. In years past, Coronado's expedition made camp here. Comanchero trader Josť Piedad Tafoya did a bustling business. Col. Ranald Mackenzie's soldiers dealt the decisive blow to the Comanche way of life when they slaughtered the Indians' ponies on Tule Creek--robbing them of any way to hunt the buffalo on which they depended. The Fort Worth & Denver Railway ran through here on a route that today has been converted to a scenic hiking and equestrian trail. The landscape hasn't changed much, and a trip to Silverton and Quitaque today offers many glimpses into the frontier way of life.

Texas Historical Commission HISTORICAL MARKERS AND SITES   The Texas Historical Commission's online Texas Historical Sites Atlas  guides you to locations and information on museums, cemeteries, military sites, historical markers, national register properties, and more--including  28 listings in Briscoe County.
Click and explore for history on your desktop! 
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Founded  1876   County seat  Silverton   Population  1,637
Communities   Quitaque   Silverton
DID YOU KNOW?  The Briscoe County community of Gasoline got its name from the new engine that powered its cotton gin in 1906 -- a novelty at the time.

Pole Canyon Ranch
Pole Canyon Ranch (photo courtesy of Phil Barefield) 
Your sojourn in rural Briscoe County could easily stretch to multiple days if you enjoy the outdoors, history, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, antiques, photography, wildlife, western music . . . the list goes on.

If you're coming from Amarillo or points north, start your trip on Texas Highway 207, crossing Palo Duro and Tule Canyons from Claude to Silverton. You'll be treated to some of the most awe-inspiring views in the state. Drive through the gate at Lake Mackenzie and drop a line in, or just enjoy the red rocks and blue water.

Arriving in the heart of Silverton, visit the Old Jail Museum and look around the Briscoe County Courthouse. Drop by the Dairy Queen (marked by the familiar red-and-white logo we natives call a "Texas Stop Sign") for a Hungr-Buster and a Blizzard before hitting the road east to Quitaque (Kitty-qway, as the entry sign explains). The city named by Charles Goodnight, who believed the Indian word meant "end of the trail," is home to the Comanchero Canyons Museum and is the gateway to Caprock Canyons State Park. And it's celebrated in a song of its own (visit Quitaque's Fun Facts page and click the Play link).

Carreta at museum
Carreta preserved at Comanchero Canyons Museum

Quitaque City Hall Learn more about Quitaque and its history here.

Stop in at the Valley Farm Store for coffee and chat (and an Internet connection) before you head up the road a couple of miles to the entrance of Caprock Canyons State Park. You might catch sight of the buffalo herd right there in the visitor center parking lot -- but don't get too near! Spend some time in the center -- park superintendent Donald Beard will share his wealth of knowledge about bison, and ranger Le'Ann Pigg is a terrific tour guide. Park activities include camping and picnicking, horseback riding, fishing, and wildlife viewing along wide, comfortable trails that were converted from ranch roads.
Caprock Canyons
Caprock Canyons is a beautiful place to hike year-round.

A memorable part of a visit to Caprock Canyons is a walk, bike ride, or horseback trek along the converted rails-to-trails Trailway, which winds for 60 miles along an abandoned roadbed with eight different entry points. Or catch a ride on the park van during a scheduled tour to view the dusk flight of Mexican free-tailed bats from the old Clarity Tunnel, the last railroad tunnel in Texas to close to rail traffic.

Visit Texas Parks & Wildlife's Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway site for maps, events, camping and trails info, and more.

PLAN AHEAD  Each fall, the Texas State Bison Festival brings the best of Texas music, arts and crafts, food, and family activities to the canyonlands, with the likes of Mark Chesnutt and Alseep at the Wheel. The event raises funds for the ongoing restoration of the state bison herd. Reserve your RV or tent site early, and join the fun!
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  Ace of Hearts Briscoe
Our Texas Fifty-Two-Step Deck of Cards is a sweet deal to help plan your trip. Pre-order yours now--each face summarizes a different county's travel highlights. $5.95 per deck (plus tax & shipping), in custom tuck box. Keep a deck in the glove compartment. Or use them in your favorite game of Texas Hold 'Em or Fifty-Two-Card Pickup!

Retailers and Texas Plains Trail partners, please contact us at 806.747.1997 or for bulk sales and shipping.

Kids and Dog in Car

TX Highway 52 "52" TRIVIA TIME  While everybody's got their mind on football Dallas Texans program this week, here's a bit of long-ago gridiron history: The Dallas Texans played their first game in 1952. But the Texans lost to the Giants, among whose effective defenders was a young player by the name of Tom Landry. It wasn't long before the Texans became the last team in the NFL to go bust. They lasted only one season, with a record of 1-11. (Pro Football Hall of Fame; Wikipedia)
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Briscoe County License Plate
Like us on Facebook for regular event and travel updates. "See 52 in Texas" and discover great destinations by following our #C52NTX hashtag on Twitter, and statewide travel info on #TexasToDo. For driving and weather conditions, visit And please with your Texas traveling friends!

Texas Time Travel posters
It's quiz time! We've got great prizes to give away.

To win a full set of these attractive 24 x 30 Texas Heritage Trails posters, suitable for framing, be the first to email us with the correct identification of this place, located in next week's featured county.

Where in the Texas Panhandle is the United States's only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly facility located, and what is its name?
Texas State Bison Herd
Several readers e-mailed with the correct answer to last week's question. Caprock Canyons State Park is home to the State Bison Herd of Texas.

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Partners, do take this opportunity to review your community, site, and event information on our Texas Plains Trail website as well as your own sites. We'll want to add your photos, update any obsolete contact info, add your events, and enhance your text content before your week comes up.  Consult the Texas Fifty-Two-Step schedule (pdf), and email with me with updates or questions.

Did you know you can add your own events to the website? You'll need event name, date and time, location and address, and contact info -- and for best results, a photo. Post your festivals and heritage events now!

Like those Texas Fifty-Two-Step county license plate graphics? They are available free to partners for promotional use. Click and scroll down to select, then download your desired images. Please credit Texas Plains Trail/Tomato Graphics.

Our campaign has been designed by a team of creative minds. Our thanks go to Rock Langston of Tomato Graphics, Amarillo, for the design of campaign components and to Stephanie Price of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, for the #C52NTX concept. Barbara Brannon is responsible for copywriting and the weekly newsletter. Photo credits: 1952 blue Chevy Styleline, Hemmings Motor News; 1952 red DeSoto, Daniel Schmitt & Co.; 1952 blue Chevy rear 3/4 view, Walt Pinkston.

Be watching for an announcement about our May 2, 2015 (5/2, get it?) tourism event to kick off National Travel & Tourism Week, focusing on the value of tourism to our nation, state, and region.

Every week's issue is archived on our website. Click here and scroll to search and download your county!
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Texas Plains Trail Region | 806.747.1997 | E-mail | Website
Barbara A. Brannon, Executive Director

Copyright © 2015 Texas Plains Trail Region. All Rights Reserved.