Texas is the 2nd largest state, by both area and population, with an area of 268,596.46 square miles and a population of 28,701,845 people. (The largest state by area is Alaska, with an area of 665,384.04 square miles and the largest state by population is California, with a population of 39,557,045 people). The state of Texas is home to 25 metropolitan areas, 254 counties and 962 cities. Facts like these make me so happy!
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Canyon Sweep- The Canyon Sweep drive is 119 miles in length, from Quitague, Texas to Canyon, Texas. The drive starts out heading west of State Highway 86, where you’ll pass miles and miles of eroded sedimentary deposits, as well as several playa lakes featuring an array of birds and wildlife. You’ll also pass through the small town of Silverton, before turning onto State Highway 207, where you’ll then pass the scenic Tule Canyon and Tule Creek. Tule Canyon/Creek is the site where a group of Plains Indians were attacked on September 26, 1874, just two days before the Red River War’s Battle of Palo Duro Canyon. You’ll then end the scenic drive at the beautiful Palo Duro Canyon, the 2nd largest canyon in the United States. The Palo Duro Canyon is referred to as “The Grand Canyon of Texas.” The canyon is approximately 120 miles long, with an average width of 6 miles (although some spots reach widths of 20 miles) and an average depth of 880 feet (although some areas reach depths of 1,000 feet). In the northernmost part of the canyon is the Palo Duro Canyon State Park, which comprises 29,182 acres of stunning scenery. (NOTE: While this drive doesn’t travel through Caprock Canyons State Park, it is certainly worth a visit. The park, which sits along the Caprock Escarpment, is 15,313.6 acres and features a 1,217-acre Trailway, 40+ bridges, trestles and tunnels, as well as majestic views of red rock cliffs and short-grass prairies).
Davis Mountains Loop- The Davis Mountains Loop drive is a 74-mile loop through the Davis Mountains. The loop is known as the “Texas Alps.” The drive begins in the community of Fort Davis, in Jeff Davis County, at the Fort Davis National Historic Site. Established in 1854, the site is named after Jefferson Davis, who was the United States Secretary of War, appointed by President Franklin Pierce, from 1853-1857. The former military post was designed to protect emigrants, freight wagons and mail coaches on the Trans-Pecos part of the San Antonio-El Paso Road. Next, traveling west on State Highway 118 takes you right up the Limpia Canyon, providing amazing views of the Limpia Creek, rolling hills and volcanic outcroppings. Afterwards, you’ll arrive at the entrance of the Davis Mountains State Park. The park covers 2,709 acres with an elevation of between 5,000 and 6,000 feet above sea level. The Davis Mountains formed about 35 million years ago, due to the volcanic eruptions of the Trans-Pecos Volcanic Field. The highest point is Baldy Peak, atop Mount Livermore, at 8,383 feet, making it the 5th highest peak in the state of Texas.
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Canyon Sweep –
Texas Parks & Wildlife – Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway
Texas Parks & Wildlife – Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Davis Mountains Loop –
National Park Service – Fort Davis National Historic Site
Texas Parks & Wildlife – Davis Mountains State Park