Dinosaur Valley State Park
  • Location: Just west of Glen Rose, TX
  • Access: From Glen Rose, head west on US67 for ¾ mile, then turn right on FM205 and head north for 3 miles, then turn right on Park Rd 59 and follow it 1 mile into the park. 
  • Map: The best trail map I've seen is that put out by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
  • Fee: $5/person/day
  • Weather: National Weather Service spot forecast


November 19, 2011

Spent several summer mornings here during childhood, the most recent of which had to be at least 20 years ago. That largely explains why I didnít recognize much of anything within the park when Mike, Mandy and I rolled in on a balmy November afternoon. The only thing which struck a familiar note was the congregation of life-sized metal dinosaurs just past the front entrance. I remember those. They are of the sort of things that make a good impression on kids. 

We parked at the Cedar Brake Trailhead, and fixed up our flyrods for a quick fishing tour of the Paluxy River. Mike lent me his spare rod, and as the afternoon drew late, we hit the river at where it intersects the hikin gtrail. Being November, there wasnít much flow. I headed downstream, while Mike and Mandy disappeared around the bend upstream towards the campground. 

I cast into the middle of the stream, to the edges, and all points in between with my little black woolly bugger. I literally had no other flies, and no other tackle, so I guarded against tangles and snags carefully. The river wasnít more than 7 or 8 inches deep, and I saw no fish. The creekbed was interesting, made up of banded limestone, though the dry season made colors a bit faded and sparse. I followed the river downstream perhaps a half mile to Buckeye Creek, then turned inland and plowed through the thick river-bank vegetation of oaks, junipers and a healthy population of green briar to reach the open field near the park road and found a trail that headed back north towards the trailhead. 

Reaching the river at the trail crossing, I caught up with Mike and Mandy, who had caught a few small perch, which was more action than I had seen. We stowed the fishing gear and headed across the river on the trail, into the cedars. This forest is almost exclusively composed of cedars, with only the riverbanks showing much diversity. We plodded along the trail to Denio Creek, and followed this mostly-dry creek bed upstream, following white blazes the whole way. Many of the junipers in this stretch were dead or dying, perhaps due to the horrendous drought Texas experienced in 2011. The trail segments in this network are short, and careful attention has to be paid to avoid wrong turns. We stayed on the white blazed trail as it diverged from Denio Creek, and looped around along the northeast boundary of the park to take us south. We passed by a herd of cows hanging out on the other side of the barbed wire fence, and afternoon faded quickly.

We took the Outer Ridge Trail to the blue blaze cutoff trail, then took that to the yellow trail north, and headed back to the car via the Ridge (Blue) Trail. As we neared the river, we encountered several active campsites filled with backpackers. Lots of dayhikers out and about, too. The red oaks lent a hint of color to otherwise somber expanse of juniper. 

We filed down the trail to the river, crossed on low rocks, and ended at the car just past sunset. 
 

Dinosaur Valley State Park, TX
Descending the Ridge Trail to the river
 
Dinosaur Valley State Park, TX
Red oaks add some hints of fall color
 
Dinosaur Valley State Park, TX
Overlooking the Paluxy River from the Ridge Trail
 
Dinosaur Valley State Park, TX
Paluxy River
 
Dinosaur Valley State Park, TX
Crossing the Paluxy River
Dinosaur Valley State Park, TX
Paluxy River
 
Dinosaur Valley State Park, TX
Trail on west side of Paluxy River, near FM 205
 
Dinosaur Valley State Park, TX
Paluxy River
 
Dinosaur Valley State Park, TX
Paluxy River
 
Dinosaur Valley State Park, TX
Paluxy River
 
Dinosaur Valley State Park, TX
Paluxy River
 
Dinosaur Valley State Park, TX
Paluxy River
 
Dinosaur Valley State Park, TX
Trail on west side of Paluxy River, near FM 205

Dinosaur Valley State Park, TX
Denio Creek...bring your swimming trunks!
 
Dinosaur Valley State Park, TX
Hiking the Outer Ridge Trail on the east edge of the park
 


 


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Page created 12-23-11
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