West Texas offers the best of nature from bison herds roaming free, sandstone canyons blazing orange in the sun, and lowlands clothed in lush cottonwood trees and beautiful cactuses.
Find a landscape unlike any other in the state, including of the state’s most spectacular outdoor areas where you can immerse yourself in all of its natural splendor.
Add these parks to your bucket list, enjoy everything the state offers with incredible views, and make unforgettable memories.
Map of State Parks Near Lubbock TX
Here is a map of the Texas state parks covered in this post:
List of State Parks Near Lubbock
Here are each of those state parks with distance from Lubbock and what makes each special.
1. Big Spring State Park
Location: 1 State Park Rd 8, Big Spring, TX 79720
Visit Big Spring State Park for a taste of culture with symphonies and plays at their outdoor theater. People who want to enjoy the outdoors can find plenty of activities, too, from cycling, hiking, competition runs, and history. The best part is that the park is free for everyone, including the family dog. However, the park does not offer camping, although there is an outdoor area big enough for two hundred people to dine outside with bathrooms nearby.
Kids can explore the Ranger Programs, visit rock carvings, and view the mountains. In Howard County and Big Spring State Park, three natural areas collide. The western Rolling Plains are to the north and east, the Edwards Plateau is to the south, and the Southern High Plains are to the west. Find overlapping plants and animals from each region for interesting surprises around every door.
Some of the wildlife you might be able to see when out on the trails include rabbits, squirrels, and roadrunners, along with tons of bird species. Mesquite, shin oak, skunkbush sumac, and redberry juniper are large woody plant species that surround the area too. With just over 380 acres and paved trails, this park makes for a perfect daytime destination.
2. Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Location: 11450 State Hwy Park Rd 5, Canyon, TX 79015
An hour and a half north of Lubbock, you will find the second largest canyon in the country at the Palo Duro Canyon State Park. The temperatures can soar up to 120 degrees in the Texas Panhandle, so make sure to plan your trip in cooler months like spring and fall. If you cannot make it out to the Grand Canyon, you can visit Texas’s version with a lighthouse-shaped rock structure. You can hike to the lighthouse on an easy trail along with some more challenging trails too.
Take some time to drive the Palo Duro Canyon loop in about an hour but take your time to enjoy the gorgeous scenery. As you slope down 500 feet to the canyon’s floor, you can observe the stunning colors of the four geologic layers. After, take the kids geocaching with a special GPS the park offers to turn it into a treasure hunting adventure. There are many more exciting things to do at one of the largest and most popular Texas State Parks. Palo Duro Canyon State Park has something for everyone, from mountain biking to horseback riding, zip-lining, bird watching, and witnessing the famed Texas Musical Drama play.
Set up camp at one of over a hundred different camps, including options with water and electricity or go primitive for a full adventure. Groups and youth camps can stay at one of the two sites with tons of amenities for an unforgettable experience. Do not leave the park before seeing the rock formations called Hoodoos formed from erosion at different rates to protect the softer rocks underneath. Finally, find a variety of wild animals, including longhorns, native mice, snakes, lizards, and much more, including unique vegetation.
3. Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway
Location: 850 Caprock Canyon Park Road, Quitaque, TX 79255
Northeast of Lubbock, find a true western experience at the Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway. The park offers a wide range of activities, including hiking and riding over 25 miles of trails, encountering wildlife such as bison and prairie dogs, wandering through bat-infested tunnels, admiring breathtaking canyon views, stargazing at night, and more are all available ways to enjoy the great outdoors. Keep in mind the heat in the panhandle can swelter, making spring and fall the best times to visit.
The majority of the hiking paths are medium to high difficulty, but those with less desire to sweat can try The Mesa Trail is the easiest hiking trail, or be adventurous and try the most difficult trail, the Haynes Ridge Overlook Trail. Various other trails allow you to explore more, including a trip to the Fern Cave, rock formations, and the canyon decorated in vivid hues.
The park even offers the official Texas Bison Herd grazing in the plains and adorable prairie dogs playing in the open fields. Take a trip to the visitors center and set up camp first before beginning your adventure. With over a hundred campsites you can find the right level of nature to suit your family. The park even offers a sling lodge for a less rustic stay with all the amenities for a relaxing vacation with incredible views and nature right outside the door.
4. Monahans Sandhills State Park
Location: Exit 86, 2500 I-20, Monahans, TX 79756
If you have ever dreamed of sand sliding, you need to visit the desert Monahans Sandhills, State Park. The park changes with every visit as the landscape shifts along with the wind, making this one of Texas’s most unusual geological sites worth seeing. Erosion from as far away as the Rocky Mountains was blown south and east, finally becoming trapped by the Permian Basin’s greater heights leading to the unique makeup of the park.
Monahans Park will not disappoint you, no matter why you visit. It’s a wonderful hiking destination, with dunes that can reach heights of 70 feet or more. Moreover, it can also be difficult to go uphill after hill of soft sand in any kind of shoe, leading to a challenging destination for adventurers. However, you will be rewarded with its beauty and serenity. Many of the park’s best viewpoints are more than a mile from the highway, providing a tranquil, wide-open panorama.
The park does not have established trails due to its ever-changing nature, although you can always find some of the world’s largest oak woods. And, with hills that often appear the same, it’s easy to get lost, so bring lots of water with you. Also, plan ahead if you want to stay at one of the 25 campsites. Each has shade and electricity along with other amenities. Finally, the park costs just four dollars per person over the age of twelve.
5. Lake Colorado City State Park
Location: Farm to Market 2836, Colorado City, TX 79512
With its smooth to rugged paths and lovely mesquite vegetation, Lake Colorado City State Park is a must-see on your next vacation, with 500 acres of parkland and more than five miles of shoreline along the lake. The park is roughly 11 miles southwest of Colorado City and about an hour and twenty minutes from Lubbock. It’s a haven for nature enthusiasts. Picnicking, camping, fishing, hiking, swimming (unsupervised), geocaching, kayaking/boating, birding, and nature observation/photography are just a few of the outdoor activities available to you.
The Mesquite Plains houses the park in a section of the western Rolling Plains. White-tailed deer, mallard ducks, raccoons, armadillos, and squirrels are among the fauna that may be seen and photographed at the park, in addition to the plentiful mesquite trees and greenery. Largemouth bass, channel catfish, and sunfish are among the fish species found in the park. Enjoy the hardy mesquite trees capable of surviving in droughts, add to the gorgeous view by the water and the grasslands.
For just four dollars a day per person, your family can enjoy the park or go camping for a little more per night. Lake Colorado offers over a hundred camping sites, most of which offer electricity but some with only water for those who want to experience rustic Texas. Once your tent is set up, head out on the trails by the water for a glimpse of wildlife, including over 300 types of bird species.