This Tunnel Trail in Texas is a Hike that’s Sure to Astound You

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Tony Maples Photography


Although having such a large variety of exciting trails throughout Texas make it difficult for walkers and hikers to check them off their bucket lists, one, in particular, stands out. Clarity Tunnel, near Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway in the Panhandle, is an abandoned railroad passage which is currently home to a large colony of Mexican free-tailed bats. It’s also part of an amazing hike, which is accessible all year long.

This Tunnel Trail in Texas is a Hike that's Sure to Astound You

Photo: Facebook/Postcards From The Pandhandle Via Linda Moseley Dowlen

Consisting of a rail-to-trail conversion with an expanse of 64.1 miles, Caprock Canyon Trailway features scenery that’s awe-inspiring, to say the least. To get to Clarity Tunnel and allow for a great hike in the process, begin at Monk’s Crossing Trailhead – which will also give hikers access to Quitaque Canyon. Known as the last active railway tunnel in the state, Clarity Tunnel was constructed in 1922 and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Although trains no longer pass through there, the commute of bats passing in and out of its walls will astound you.

This Tunnel Trail in Texas is a Hike that's Sure to Astound You

Photo: Facebook/Sarah Roberts Westmoreland

More than 500K Mexican free-tailed bats have since made their home in Clarity Tunnel, residing there in the months of April through October. The best time for viewing this colony is in September, in the commencement of their annual migration south. Regardless of timing, the red rock towers that dot the perimeter of your hike, the untouched natural history, and the sense that something larger than you is at work in your surroundings will make this hike unforgettable. For more information on accessing the tunnel from Monk’s Crossing Trailhead, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department site available here.