See Prehistoric Dinosaur Tracks at this Texas State Park

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Dinosaur Valley State Park, Glen Rose, Texas
Dinosaur Valley State Park, Glen Rose, Texas | Photo Credit: Wikimedia - DatraxMada
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Located about 60 miles southwest of Fort Worth, Dinosaur Valley State Park offers a unique adventure for those seeking to step back in time and walk in the footsteps of prehistoric giants. This incredible park allows visitors to travel back to the Cretaceous Period, estimated to be around 113 million years ago, and see the tracks of dinosaurs that once roamed this land. The land, which was once the shore of an ancient sea, now holds these fascinating tracks within the Paluxy River, granting the city of Glen Rose, Texas, the well-deserved nickname of being the “Dinosaur Capital of Texas”. The state park, spanning over 1,500 acres, has been open to the public for exploration since 1972, offering a wealth of activities and sights for visitors to enjoy.

Things to Do

Dinosaur Tracks

The story of the dinosaur tracks in Dinosaur Valley State Park began in 1908 when a nine-year-old boy named George Adams made a remarkable discovery. While wandering near the Paluxy River, Adams noticed some unusually large tracks. Upon closer inspection, he realized that these were huge, three-toed tracks, which later studies revealed belonged to a theropod dinosaur.

In the 1920s, the tracks gained further attention when Robert T. Bird, a fossil collector for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, came to Texas to study them. During his visit, Bird made another groundbreaking discovery – the world’s first sauropod trackway. This finding was particularly significant because it provided the first proof that sauropods, the large, long-necked dinosaurs, walked on land.

Today, visitors to Dinosaur Valley State Park can easily find and observe these incredible dinosaur tracks, which lie in the bed of the Paluxy River. The park has designated trails and viewing areas to help guide visitors to the best spots to see the tracks. However, it’s important to note that if the river levels are high or the water is muddy, it may be difficult or even impossible to see the tracks clearly.

Hiking

For those who love to explore nature on foot, Dinosaur Valley State Park offers 20 miles of diverse hiking trails. These trails range in difficulty from easy to challenging, accommodating hikers of various skill levels. The shortest trail is just 0.3 miles, perfect for a quick nature walk, while the longest stretches for 7.5 miles, providing a more extensive hiking experience. Whether you’re a casual hiker or an avid adventurer, you’ll find a trail that suits your preferences and allows you to immerse yourself in the park’s stunning natural beauty.

Equestrian Trails

Dinosaur Valley State Park also caters to horse enthusiasts, with the South primitive area offering 100 acres of terrain for visitors to explore on horseback. If you’re planning to bring your own horse, keep in mind that there are no water troughs along the route, so it’s essential to bring water or a bucket to collect water from the river for your equine companion.

For those who don’t have their own horses, the park has partnered with Eagle Eye Ranch Carriage Company to provide guided horseback trail rides and even horse-drawn wagon rides. These guided experiences allow visitors to enjoy the park’s beauty and learn about its history from knowledgeable guides.

Camping

Many visitors to Dinosaur Valley State Park choose to extend their stay by camping, allowing them to spend more time exploring the park’s wonders. The park offers 44 campsites with electrical hookups, catering to RVs and trailers up to 35 feet in length. For those who prefer a more rustic experience, there are also walk-in or hike-in primitive sites, as well as group camping areas, accommodating a variety of camping preferences.

Conclusion

Dinosaur Valley State Park is a true gem for anyone fascinated by prehistoric life or simply looking for an unforgettable outdoor adventure. With its awe-inspiring dinosaur tracks, diverse hiking trails, equestrian experiences, and camping options, this park offers something for visitors of all ages and interests. Whether you’re a dinosaur enthusiast, a nature lover, or a family seeking a unique and educational getaway, Dinosaur Valley State Park promises an experience that will transport you back in time and create memories that will last a lifetime.

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