The Paluxy River or to me a creek actually, as it is only twenty-nine miles long, runs through Dinosaur Valley State Park. The Paluxy also contains one of the largest accumulations of Dinosaur tracks in the world. There are eleven distinct track sites in the riverbed. What disappointed me was the amount of people wading in the river looking at the tracks which just stirred up the muck on the bottom so nobody could see anything.
But the park is beautiful anyway.
The tracks here were first discovered in 1908 or I should say the Theropod tracks.
In 1938 Roland T. Bird discovered and recorded the first known sauropod tracks in the world in the Paluxy River. He and his crew excavated a thirty yard long section of the river bed and sent the tracks to various American museums.
Roland Bird was not a paleontologist; he was just a fossil hunter.
But the holes pictured above have a more sinister tale. During the Great Depression treasure hunters came to the area and harvested the tracks and sold them. And even worse, fake tracks were carved in the stone along with what appeared as human foot prints and these were sold in local shops as proof that man and dinosaurs lived at the same time. This of course has been debunked.
After visiting the first set of tracks which are well preserved and protected I hit the trail.
I started on the Paluxy River Trail which was a bit disappointing as it was paved for the first mile or so.
I went as far as I could and then had to back track or cross the river. I decided to cross although due to being an angle crossing it was a long way!
I made it across with dry feet and started up into Denio Creek and its canyon.
Dinosaur Valley is relatively new as a state park, especially when considering how long the tracks have been known to be there. The land was bought from private owners in 1968 and the park opened in 1972.
Across the river was much more rugged then the front side. The next trail I took was the Limestone Ledge Trail. Here were the views of the Paluxy River Valley and the surrounding countryside.
At the top it was well worth the hike up…..
There were actually two overlooks. The picture above is from the upper overlook. Below this overlook you descended across Wildcat Hollow to the lower overlook.
I went to the lower overlook which had beautiful views of the river
I ended my day back at the first track site where a ranger was giving a talk about the tracks, their age and the thievery of the past. The Tracks were made by two dinosaurs, the Acrocanthosaurus a therapod and a predator. Much like a T-Rex, the Acrocanthosaurus was near the top of the food chain. Acrocanthosaurus ran on two legs at about 5 miles an hour. The other tracks were made by the Sauroposeidon the largest of the dinosaurs. It was 110 feet long and stood over 50 feet tall when it raised it’s long neck. They moved at only about 2 miles per hour.
You started reading this because you wanted to see Dino tracks didn’t ya? Well okay here they are
All the tracks were under water on this visit. I want to go back next time we have a drought.