Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas
Updated: May 29
This is your chance to walk where the dinosaurs roamed. At this park, you can explore the Paluxy River and look for real, fossilized dinosaur footprints. This park is located one hour from Fort Worth and has some of the best preserved dinosaur tracks in the world.
Insider Tip: Starting May 27th, you can make new overnight camping reservations at most state parks for arrival dates between June 1st and September 7th.
Dinosaur Valley State Park
1629 Park Rd 59, Glen Rose, TX 76043
Monday - Sunday from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Texas State Parks are operating at a limited capacity, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
You are required to pre-purchase "all day passes". The park is quickly filling up to full capacity because of these restrictions. I suggest that you buy your tickets a month or two in advance, especially if you are planning to go on the weekend.
To make reservations online, click here. Also, make sure you print your reservations after your purchase.
Day passes are:
$7 per day, per person, for ages 13 and older.
Online purchase of Save the Day Passes is limited to eight people per vehicle and no more than two vehicles per arrival date. You can only purchase passes for one park per arrival date. You are also limited to no more than four parks in a seven-day window.
What To Pack
Best Time to Hike Dinosaur Valley State Park
The end of summer, when the river is low. I suggest you arrive early, before the crowds, to avoid the heat of the day.
Where to stay while visiting
There are 46 campsites near Dinosaur Valley State Park. You can also choose to stay in a hotel in Glen Rose or you can visit the city of Granbury.
Here is my Guide to Granbury, Texas.
Map of Dinosaur Valley State Park
Make sure to pick up a map from the Park Ranger Station.
Entrance to the Dinosaur Valley State Park
At the Park Ranger Station, you will see dinosaur tracks, but keep in mind those are replicas. This is the perfect spot to get those fantastic Facebook and Instgram pictures.
At the entrance, you will find the famous dinosaur models, which were featured at the 1964-1969 New York World's Fair. This is where the excitement begins for any dinosaur loving family, like mine. Plus, this is the perfect spot for a picture.
Insider Tip: The dinosaur models at the front DO NOT represent the dinosaurs that actually lived in the area.
Dinosaur Tracks You Will See
Acrocanthosaurus - A smaller relative of Tyrannosaurus Rex (T-Rex)
Paluxysaurus Jonesi - This is a type of Sauropod which was named the official dinosaur of Texas.
There Are Five Official Track Sites on the Map
Main Track Site
Ballroom Track Site
Taylor Track Site
Paluxy River Trail
Main Track Site
If the water is too high, the footprints will not be visible. Luckily, we were able to see the footprints, although the water was murky. The section around the footprints is roped off, but you can still see the tracks up close and personal.
Insider tip: Customers should call the park for current dinosaur track visibility information.
These prints probably belong to the carnivorous Acrocanthosaurus.
The Sauropod tracks at Dinosaur Valley State Park belong to Paluxysaurus Jonesi, which means "earthquake god lizards"
We seriously had to pinch ourselves! This is something we never thought we would ever see in person. It was a dream come true for my husband and son. How cool is it to stand in the same place where a dinosaur stood? It's even cooler to hike the same area that a dinosaur once trekked. Can you believe this is where they ate, slept and hung out? It is so surreal!
To get to the dinosaur tracks, you must cross the river, by way of some enormous rocks. Luckily for us, the rocks were not slippery, but the course was a little challenging.
Side Note: My best friend laughed at our metallic shorts. Joke is on her...there is never a wrong time to wear metallics. ;)
Fun Fact: You can find human tracks, along with dinosaur tracks, at the end of the 500 foot extended trail, which totals around 57 tracks. Some scientists argue these tracks are human, while others say they are not human tracks. The water must be low enough, in order for you to see them. I will let you decide for yourself.
Ballroom Track Site
This is largest site and where you will find hundreds of tracks moving in all different directions. It is a pretty simple hike, but the water levels must be low in order to see the tracks. Sadly, we were not able to see these tracks on our visit. The best time of the year to see them is during the late summer months.
This old-time swimming hole is loved by many locals. Do not forget to bring your tubes for some fun in the sun. Sadly, it had just rained the previous day, so the water was murky. The locals told us the water was aqua green and super clear the day before, so we were a little bummed that we missed out on that. We had to pass on this trip since the water was less than desirable. However, when the river is lower, you can find theropod tracks around the limestone ledge.
Insider Tip: You can find free life vest at the top of the Blue Hole.
Walk the Paluxy River
The river runs though the park, which was once the Cretaceous Ocean. This is where the Texas dinosaurs played. If the river is low enough, you can see different dinosaur tracks along the rivers edge.
Paluxy River Scenic Overlook
This long hike can be little scary with toddlers, but the scenic view of the river is amazing from what I heard. We had to quit towards the end because it was a little too risky for this momma. You have to walk on the side of slated hills and one slip could send you falling down. No, thank you!
Swim in the Paluxy River
After a long day of hiking, many people jump into the river to cool down. No need to worry about your kids because the water moves slowly and it is shallow. It was so hot outside, my kids jumped in with all of their clothes still on!
Insider Tip: I suggest having your bathing suit under your clothes. We could not find any changing rooms.
I suggest stopping at the following places while visiting the State Park:
Fossil Rim Wildlife Park
Big Rocks Park
So, if you have an explorer in your family, take a trip back to prehistoric times and hike where the dinosaurs once traveled. I hope you have blast because we sure did!
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