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TULE CREEK. Tule Creek rises in three main branches, North, Middle, and South Tule draws. The two longer headstreams, the North and Middle draws, rise in northeastern Castro County and flow eastward parallel to each other for twenty-six miles to unite in the gently rolling rangeland of central Swisher County three miles east of Tulia (at 34°33' N, 101°42' W). South Tule draw rises near Nazareth in Castro County and flows east to the main stream. In eastern Swisher County the sandy streambed drops into Tule Canyon, cut into the edge of the Llano Estacado, and continues until the canyon merges with Palo Duro Canyon and the creek merges with the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River in north central Briscoe County (at 34°41' N, 101°14' W). Tule Canyon, which is noted for the beauty of its colorful walls and for the unusual formations carved by centuries of erosion, has been identified as one of the canyons seen by Francisco Vázquez de Coronado in 1541–42, and as one crossed by the Texan Santa Fe Expedition in 1841. In September 1874 Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie and his Fourth United States Cavalry camped at the head of the canyon just prior to his decisive victory over the hostile Indians in Palo Duro Canyon on September 28. Back at the Tule Canyon campsite the next day, Mackenzie's troops slaughtered the captured herd of over 1,000 horses. The vast bonepile was for years a Panhandle landmark and gave rise to a legend of phantom horses in the canyon on moonlit nights. During the early 1970s the Mackenzie Dam and Reservoir was constructed on Tule Creek in western Briscoe County; the reservoir extends slightly into Swisher County.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

"TULE CREEK," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed October 08, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.