For this weeks LoneStarTravelers day trip adventure we headed 84 miles southeast of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex to Glen Rose Texas, home of Dinosaur Valley State Park.
This fascinating park is the site of the renowned dinosaur footprints embedded in the Paluxy riverbed made famous in 1938 when Roland T. Bird of the American Museum of Natural History, a self described lover of fossils arrived in Glen Rose and began excavation of some sections of trackway. If the water level is low, and it was when we visited, you can actually walk in the trackway which dates to the Cretaceous period, 113 million years ago. Your first stop at the park should be the interpretive center located in the headquarters building chronicling the history of the area. If you are hiking any of the 17 miles of trails here in the spring or early summer months be sure to pick up a bird check list and look for the endangered golden cheeked warbler and the rare and small black-capped vireo. Then head back outside in the direction of two life size dinosaurs. These fiberglass models of a apatosaurus and tyrannosaurus rex stand 70 feet and 45 feet tall. Directly adjacent to the dinosaurs is the park store selling all things dinosaur related! The geocache we were searching for was 1/2 mile down a trailhead in this area so we headed there next. The terrain at Dinosaur Valley State Park is wooded, semi-rocky and hilly. A pleasant surprise for most visitors after the long mostly flat drive in from Dallas or Fort Worth. With the Paluxy River, a tributary of the Brazos River running right through the park you can almost always find folks fishing or splashing in the river. The swimming hole known as Blue Hole is the place to be in summer with it’s clear waters running 12 to 20 feet deep. As we walked the path in search of the geocache the trail split for equestrians in one direction and hikers in the other. We kept on a short ways, heading towards the river. The geocache, as they are in the Texas State Parks was hidden in an old ammo box. We discovered it in the hollow of a tree. After exchanging our item for another from the cache, and signing the logbook we moved on to the day use area for a picnic. Several families were enjoying the day with children off for the second wave of Spring Break. After lunch we were off to track area#2, the main track viewing area in the park to explore and take pictures. Here you will see the saucer-shaped footprints of the plant-eating sauropods and the three-toes tracks of the meat-eating theropods. A tour of the camping area completed our day at Dinosaur Valley State Park. The 46 water and electric campsites are mostly suited for tents. A few would be able to accommodate a larger size trailer or RV. For those in search of a greater adventure a hike of a mile or two will take you to one of seven primitive sights scattered in the backcountry. Be sure to call ahead for camping reservations especially in the spring and summer when most weekends are full. Check the park calendar for special events held at this time of year as well, including guided nature hikes, monarch butterfly migration and monitoring and an Easter Egg Hunt to be held this year on Sunday, March 31st, 2013. For more information call the park directly at 254-897-4588