On our quest to see as many Texas State Parks as possible Dinosaur Valley, located in a bend of the Paluxy River, quickly rose to the top. It’s been miserably hot here in Texas. Typically the summer doesn’t bother me too much down here but with the amount of rain we got it is so humid that all you want to do is sit in your air-conditioned house or jump into the nearest body of water.
So we headed out to do just that. After a quick stop to check in we headed to the giant dinosaur statutes for a quick photo shoot with the 70 foot tall Apatosaurus model and 45 foot tall Tyrannosaurus rex model. These fiberglass statues were on display at the 1064-65 New York World’s Fair before being donated to the state park in 1970 right before it opened.
As you can probably guess there is a reason for all this dinosaur obsession around the park. In the river bed at multiple locations are actual dinosaur tracks that they estimate are about 113 million years ago. Calcium carbonate deposits from shells of crustaceans formed a deposit that was the perfect consistent to preserve the tracks. Some of these tracks have been removed and are on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Texas Memorial Museum in Austin. But today, depending on the water levels you can still see and touch many of the tracks.
We spent about an hour hiking across a river and over many boulders before turning around and heading to the opposite side of the park where their famous blue hole is. This water hole is anywhere from 12 to 24 feet deep and after sweating our butts off it was the perfect temperature to jump straight in. We swam for a bit around the hole before making our way to the shallow river bed and walking upstream to where you could see the tracks under the water. Tip, bring water shoes because it gets rocky!
It was the perfect afternoon in the Texas heat and only about an hour and a half away from our home. We saw some operations on the way into town that rent tubes to float the entire river, including the section that passes through the state park and contains the dinosaur tracks. We may be back there sometime soon for another day in the water!