Dinosaur Valley State Park - Hiking

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About

Summary

Located on the edge of Texas Hill Country, Dinosaur Valley State Park offers a matrix of well-maintained loop trails that pass through meadows and cedar brakes.

Written by

Brian Witte

Distance

0.1 miles

Varies; Dinosaur Valley State Park offers approximately 20 miles of interconnected mixed-use trails.

Destination Distance From Downtown

71.6 miles

Difficulty

2 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

0 hours

Varies, depending on which trail you choose.

Seasonality

All Seasons

Spring and autumn offer the best mix of dry trails and moderate temperatures. Hiking in summer is possible, but bring lots of extra water as most of the trails are in the direct sun.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Fees Permits

Yes

$7 per person for day use (children under 12 free), or $70/year for a Texas State Parks Pass.

Review

Intro

Located on the edge of Texas Hill Country, Dinosaur Valley State Park offers a matrix of well-maintained loop trails that pass through meadows and cedar brakes. The Paluxy River winds through a shallow gorge in the heart of the park.

What Makes It Great

Dinosaur Tracks!  Several kinds of dinosaurs left tracks in the muddy floor of an ancient ocean.  Their prints were preserved in stone, and are visible at five different locations along the river.  

Although famous for the dinosaur tracks lining the river bed, Dinosaur Valley State Park offers approximately 20 miles of interconnected mixed-use trails.  The longest single trail, Cedar Brakes, skirts the outside boundary of the park and offers a sample of all the terrain the park has to offer: Paluxy River Gorge, gentle hills, sandstone outcrops, grassy meadows and juniper forest.  The trails are well-maintained dirt and and gravel.  On a busy spring or autumn weekend, the parking lot near the river may be crowded with cars, but the trails away from the river and dinosaur tracks will still be quiet and sparsely-traveled.  The trails become much more challenging in summer as the cedar trees offer little in the way of shade.


Above the river, there are many small tributary creeks.  Buckeye Creek, on the western side of the park, has some perennial springs.  Look for resident turtles, and wildflowers that persist well into the scorching summer months.  On the northern edge of the park, a 45’ waterfall graces Wildcat Hollow following significant rain fall.  After a day of hiking, cool off in another Texas rarity - a swimming hole deep enough to really swim with enough current to keep the water clean.

As an added bonus, the park is a long way from major roads which makes it ideal for that most coveted DFW-area feature: silence.

Who is Going to Love It

People looking for a casual hike through quietly beautiful Texas hill country will find a pleasant afternoon diversion here.  Also, those with school-age children (or who have retained their own fascination with dinosaurs) will relish their visit.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

The park is 80 miles from downtown Dallas, 60 miles from downtown Fort Worth, at 1629 Park Rd 59 in Glen Rose.

Location

Dinosaur Valley State Park Hiking

32.251511, -97.81219

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