Texas Travel

Take a Walk with the Dinosaurs

By Rachel Elmalawany 7.19.13

White sand beaches, palm trees, and warm temperatures all-year-long sounds like a scene from a Hawaiian island, but this was Central Texas in the dinosaur age. Dinosaurs walked across the beaches hunting for food, leaving footprints in the sand. The Paluxy riverbed in Glen Rose washed away all those limestone deposits, uncovering hundreds of dinosaur footprints that we can see today at Dinosaur Valley State Park.

Dinosaurs, oh my!

The tracks are important because they are among the first trackways discovered in the world. The prints show a longneck dinosaur being followed by a dinosaur similar to a T-Rex. “From their placement, we can tell the height of the dinosaurs, and they were at least 20 feet tall,” says park interpreter Kathy Lenz.

She also states that every trackway discovered has the two dinosaurs walking together, indicating a hunt. There are tracks all along the riverbed, and as the river erodes, more tracks appear, making the Paluxy River a great place to keep coming year after year.

While the best time to see the tracks is in August, when the water is low, they are visible any time throughout the year.

More than just a hole in the riverbed

Dinosaur Valley State Park isn’t just a hot spot for viewing ancient dinosaur prints. Check out their event calendar for guided nature hikes and “Park after Dark” night tours. The park also offers miles of hiking trails and campsites. There are 46 campsites with electricity and water, and various other sites available for camping with tents, if you’d prefer a more primitive camping experience. There are also two equestrian trails, which have stunning scenery for hikers and riders alike. And for the swimmers in the family, there is a 24-foot-deep sinkhole that is great for diving and fishing.

When visiting the park, be sure to use appropriate safety equipment, including footwear, helmets, and swimwear. Also, be aware of the wildlife native to the park, including snakes and raccoons.