Dinosaur Valley State Park

dinosaur valley state park cover

Walk where the dinosaurs roamed at the Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, one hour south of Fort Worth, Texas. Enjoy beautiful views of Paluxy River Valley, step in their footprints, and imagine these enormous creatures living there in times past.

dinosaur valley ballroom prints
Acrocanthosaurus tracks (similar to the T-Rex ) located at the Ballroom Site.

Walk On Dinosaurs Tracks

While visiting Dallas, Texas, we wanted to explore the surrounding countryside on fun day trips. A unique experience stood out; to see and walk in actual dinosaur footprints. About an hour outside of Fort Worth, we discovered the small town of Glen Rose. The town is making the most of its unique attraction with large billboards, statues, and dinosaur-themed parks found along the main roads.

dinosaur valley making tracks
Discovering how dinosaurs tracks were preserved in the sediment.

Near the entrance of the park is the Headquarters where we picked up park maps, paid our entrance fees, and walked through the interpretive center to learn more about its history.

dinosaur valley visitors center
Picking up maps and learning more about the park at the headquarters.

We had about two hours allotted in our itinerary to explore the park, so the rangers recommended we visit the “Main Track” and the “Ballroom” sites.

The Main Track Site

Located across the northwest parking lot, the Main Site is accessible down a stone staircase to the riverbed. Carefully cross a series of stepping stones to the other side. They are very slippery, so take caution.

dinosaur valley river crossing
Crossing the Paluxy River on the slippery limestone was dangerous. Be careful!
dinosaur valley main-track
With the most visible tracks, the main track site is a popular area at the park.

The tracks in this area include both sauropod and theropod, as well as a rare tail impression. The park staff regularly maintains cleaning the tracks and may rope off areas for preservation.

dinosaur valley state park tracks
Dinosaur tracks embedded in the limestone bottom of the river.

The larger tracks are believed to be made by the Sauroposeidon (Brontosaurus), and the smaller three-toed tracks by the Acrocanthosaurus (similar to the T-Rex). Nearby, bones of the Acrocanthosaurus have been found embedded in similarly aged stone.

Ballroom Site

South of the Main Track Site is the Ballroom Site. This entire site was systematically cleaned, photographed, and mapped by a team of paleontologists, geologists, and more. It earned the name “ballroom” because of the variety of tracks displayed in this area.

dinosaur valley ballroom site sign
Signs posted at site locations were extremely helpful in helping us find the tracks and understanding the history.
dinosaur valley ballroom site
The Ballroom Site has hundreds of tracks submerged in the river.

Over 500 dinosaur footprints of different depth and clarity, representing at least three dinosaur species have been recorded here.

dinosaur valley ballroom prints
Acrocanthosaurus tracks located at the Ballroom Site.

Maps, Trails, and Parking

There is so much to do at Dinosaur Valley State Park: find dinosaur tracks, swim or fish in the river, hike, observe wildlife, picnic, horseback riding, geocache, camp, and ride bikes. The Park Store is available near the large dinosaur models and offers snacks, outdoor supplies, and souvenirs. Parking is available in four different lots throughout the park.

dinosaur valley state park map
Dinosaur Valley State Park Trails Map.

At the Headquarters maps are available and friendly staff to help you plan your visit.

dinosaur valley trails
There are over 20 miles of trails to explaore at the Dinosaur Valley State Park.
dinosaur valley trails paluxy
Trails along the Paluxy River are muddy and narrow. Be careful.

We had planned only a few hours in our itinerary to experience this park. Within the first 20 minutes of being there, I instantly regretted not allotting for at least a half-day. People were camping, enjoying picnics, and swimming in the river. Can you imagine floating in an inner tube down the river over dinosaur tracks? While we were disappointed not to have more time, we are extremely grateful for the time we spent there. It was a surreal opportunity of awe and wonder at a place where the dinosaurs once roamed.

Tips:

  • Check on social media or by phone if the tracks are visible the day of your visit.
  • Bring water shoes, swimming gear, beach towels, sunblock, and inner tubes.
  • Bring extra water and a cooler. It is very humid and hot, especially during the summer months.
  • Bring insect repellent. You WILL need it.
  • The best time to visit is when water levels are low, typically the end of summer.
  • Bring a small whisk brush to gently clean away debris from the tracks.

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