While the state parks of Texas all have their own individual points of appeal, for sheer ‘wow’ factor and a connection with history, nothing quite beats the opportunity to walk in footprints left by dinosaurs at the Dinosaur Valley State Park.
Opened in 1972, this 1,587-acre Texas state park features tracks left by Sauropods and Theropods that have been there for at least 65 million years.
It also has an incredible 70-foot model of an Apatosaurus, as well as a 45-foot model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, which gives you a fair indication of how big these magnificent creatures were.
Designated as a National Natural Landmark, the park is just over an hour’s drive from Forth Worth and Arlington.
Providing guests with the opportunity to enjoy a range of activities like kayaking, fishing, swimming, bird watching, picnicking and camping, it is a great place to come for fun and recreation.
Visitors to Dinosaur Valley are spoiled for choice when it comes to how they can spend their time at the park.
Here is just a small selection of some of the things you can see and do when you are there.
Kayaking at Dinosaur Valley State Park
Kayaking is a popular activity at the park, so be sure to bring yours with you. But if you don’t have one that is ok, as you can rent a vessel out at the park for a small fee.
The scenic Paluxy River is where the action takes place and has some gentle rapids for you to tackle.
While it is by no means at the level of ferocity of whitewater rafting, you will need to wear a lifejacket if partaking in this activity.
Swimming at Dinosaur Valley State Park
On a hot day, the river is a terrific place to cool off from the warm temperatures that Texas is renowned for.
As with kayaking, it is recommended that non-strong swimmers wear life jackets, as the water is not lifeguarded.
Fishing at Dinosaur Valley State Park
For those who enjoy fishing the river is a terrific place to cast a line.
The great thing about doing so in Texas is that you don’t need a licence to fish from the bank of any of its state parks.
So feel free to find a nice shady spot and try your luck at hooking bluegill, drum, alligator gar, channel catfish, and striped and largemouth bass.
Dinosaur Tracks at Dinosaur Valley State Park
As you should imagine, the dinosaur tracks are by far the park’s biggest attraction.
Throughout its 20 miles of trails, you’ll find several genuine footprints and tracks that were left by them millions of years ago.
The thrill of seeing these artifacts will break you out in goosebumps and make for a fascinating and intoxicating experience.
Onsite rangers will point you in the direction of the best spots to look for these ancient impressions.
Alternatively, if you have a GPS, you can download KMZ files, which should assist you to find the footprints independently.
Picnicking at Dinosaur Valley State Park
No visit to the park would be complete within an outdoor picnic experience and thankfully there are several places where you will be able to do that.
Dotted throughout the park you will find a number of picnic tables, some of which are at scenic spots down by the river and close to the playground and restrooms.
If you are in a larger group, there is also a 25 seater picnic pavilion available for you to use. This can be reserved up to 11 months in advance.
Wildlife and Bird Watching
Sadly you won’t be able to see living dinosaurs roaming around the park anymore.
But you should spot a wide range of other wildlife and birdlife during your time there.
This includes the likes of bobcats, coyotes, deer, armadillos, elk and jackrabbits.
Throughout the year, many bird lovers visit the park too for the chance to see various species, during the migratory season.
Some popular species they keep their eyes peeled for, include white-winged doves, chuck-will’s widow and several different types of warbler and sparrow.
Pets at Dinosaur Valley State Park
Dogs and cats are welcome at the park, but at all times during your stay there, you will need to keep them restrained and supervised.
Other restrictions may apply. So its worth contacting the park’s main office to clarify how they might affect your experience there.
Camping at Dinosaur Valley State Park
For those who want to spend a few nights at the park, the main campground holds 44 roomy RV campsites that can accommodate vehicles of between 36 to 66 feet in length.
Some of these sites are gravel, while others are paved with concrete. They are also quite shaded, and are fairly near each other.
All of them offer 30-amp electric hookups and water, and also each come with a picnic table, waist high BBQ grill, fireplace and lantern hook.
Amenities at this campsite include comfort stations that have running water, flush toilets and showers nearby.
As well as these sites, primitive camping is available. All of these sites require you to hike between half a mile and two and a half miles to access them, sometimes across the river.
Once there you will not have access to restrooms, showers, drinking water or picnic tables. But there will be a lantern post and a fire ring at some of them.
When you leave this primitive site, be sure to take all of your trash with you.
Dinosaur Valley State Park
1629 Park Rd 59
Glen Rose, TX 76043
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Dinosaur Valley State Park:
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