Friday, July 12, 2013

Dinosaur Tracks in Leander


Updated: July 29, 2015.  According to the comments below, the dino tracks are currently visible.  It sounds like a great time to visit.  Thank you for all the updates!  

Also, big thank you to Wes for leaving the GPS coordinates in the comments below.

About a half mile west from the 183 bridge that crosses the South Fork of the San Gabriel River is a truly amazing sight!  Approximately 12 (maybe 11) dinosaur footprints are embedded in the rock of the river bed.  

If you haven't taken the time to hike down there, they are really worth seeing!

There is something amazing about looking down and seeing a trail of dinosaur footprints that are over 100 million years old!  

At this site there are no fences, no signs, nothing but a trail of prints on a dry riverbed.  

You can walk alongside them and get a feel for the large size of the dino that walked there before you. 

Based on the shape of the three toed prints, scientists believe they may have belonged to a carnivore called the Acrocanthosaurus. There are also supposed to be some Brontosaur tracks closer to the bridge.  These prints are supposed to look like big circles... but I have never been able to find them.  

Regardless, it is a nice hike on the river bed. Although there isn't a whole lot of water in the river these days, there is still enough for frogs and fish and all sorts of creatures to enjoy.

Tips and Thoughts

* Although there are no fences or signs prohibiting access, please do not step into the dino tracks or they will deteriorate over time, and our next generation will not be able to enjoy them!

* To find these prints, go to Google maps and search for where the South San Gabriel River crosses 183 a little north of Leander. You can also use the approximate address: 601 S Gabriel Dr, Leander, TX 78641.  This will take you to the parking spot (not the dino tracks!)


*To access the prints, you can park right off of 183.  There appears to be two parking areas on the south side of the bridge: you can either park in a small grassy lot in front of a fenced off electrical maintenance area on the south east corner.  There is a path down to the river between 183 and the electrical maintenance area. Or it looks like you can park in the median just south of the river, between the north and south bound road in 183.  Access to the river seems very easy here as well.

* Once you are on the river bed, head west.  The tracks are about (and this is a rough estimate) a half mile west of 183.  When looking back, if you can still see the 183 bridge, you have not gone far enough.  The tracks are on the left hand side of the riverbank.  

* This is a river bed... if it ever rains in Texas again, the river could potentially fill and the tracks would be unavailable.  I'm not convinced we will ever be out a drought, but it could happen.  So keep this in mind!  Note added 1/15/2015: I took my father over the Christmas break.  There was water in the river, but the tracks were on a higher ledge and they were dry. It would have to be a lot of recent rain, I think, to cover these tracks.

* This is not a park, nor a formal location.  This is just a random spot in the river.  So don't look for any signs, expect any restrooms or depend on any water fountains.  But the river is state land, so access is permitted along the river bed.

If you visit and have some additional information to provide, please feel free to leave a comment!


29 comments:

  1. We're going to check them out today. Note that there is no such thing as a brontosaur, however.

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  4. We found 13 prints, Jan 2015. The last one is partly covered by silt/mud, exactly 4.5 feet from the previous print (all of the tracks are about 4.5 feet apart)

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  5. Visited the prints today and about 4-5 of them were a few inches under the water, but still visible. Pretty amazing stuff. My 4 & 5 year olds were impressed, as was I.

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  6. Thanks for the info, Wes! I will update the blog above! And great find Sean! This really is an amazing hike!

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  7. Was there today. About 5 or 6 were on dry land. Rest were under water. Totally worth the hike. A local told us the university of texas built an access trail directly above the prints. I'm not sure where you would park though. Riverbed hike was easy enough though. Did it with my 2 and 4 year old.

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  8. We were there today couldn't see the prints - either we didn't walk far enough or under water. Has any one maped it with their gps. We will be back in the area in 2 weeks and would love to try again

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  9. Anybody have any more information on the "Brontosaurus" prints? Even though we aren't entirely sure Brontosaurus existed.

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  10. Went today and likely all were a few feet underwater. We may have seen one that was a few inches below but hard to tell.

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  11. Thank you for the update Allie! We love the rain, but I imagine the river is pretty full these days. Maybe in a few weeks they will be visible again.

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  12. Anyone know if they are visible?

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  13. Went today and they are visible but just under water

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  14. Went out today and 6 of the tracks are high and dry. The others are visible but just under the water

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    1. Thanks for the update!!!

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  15. With the water levels lower now, the prints are easy to find - they are about 20 mins walk from the bird, just past the big bend.

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  16. Also it is not mentioned here, but there are a load of other types of dinosaur tracks on the river. The brontosaurus tracks are about 100 feet past the Acrocanthosaurus tracks, on the Lhs of the river. There are at least 20 footprints, walking side by side, obviously from multiple animals walking together in a clear direction. The prints are large and round. We also found 2-3 prints that were approx 5 times larger than the Acrocanthosaurus prints each one about 4 feet long - on the same river bed approx half way between the Acrocanthosaurus prints and the bridge. Every time we go there, we find more printes, it's an exciting place to go to!

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    1. This is great. Thanks for the info. I have never seen any other prints. I'll have to look closer next time! Thanks for sharing!!

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  17. Today, 7-26-15, the tracks on the left side as you are heading west from 183 are no longer under water. They were clearly visible because the tracks still held water, which made them perfectly visible against the dry surrounding area.

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  18. We went today (7/27/15) and the tracks were visible - we hit them about 200 feet before the gps coordinates said we would, but that could been us. They were several feet way from the river at this point. We would suggest wearing water shoes and bathing suits because at the river level today, the kids were able to walk all the way up the river and avoid the scratchy plants on the path. Very fun!

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    1. Thanks for the update! Last time we visited (in the winter) the creek was mostly dry. Sounds like it is even more fun now!

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  19. We went today (8/2/15) and it was such a great trip. There was one point at the beginning of the walk where the water was up to our hips and over our four-year-old's head. Luckily we brought swim gear with us and our son thoroughly enjoyed using his goggles to see the fish in the river. We also took our dog with us, who loved running up and down the river.

    We used the GPS coordinates to get us near the tracks -- I almost missed them because I was walking down by the water! They are completely visible and dry. This was such a cool way to spend the afternoon, and the river was so gorgeous today.

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  20. We went today and it was awesome fun!! Little hot but tons of fun. It's amazing to find dinosaur footprints in a creek bed 20 min away from our house, no one around, just us, nature and 110 million old dino footprints. We know it was a meat eater with the three toes and it had a foot length of 18", foot width of 13" and a stride length of 10 feet approx. The dino was moving in a westerly direction at 265 degrees per my compass reading.

    Per our armature scientific research (conducted within the last hour of searching on the internet), we have read that a good estimate for a bipedal dinosaur's height is 10 times the foot length. Since the foot length is .4572 meters (18 inches) the height would be approx. 4.5720 meters (15 feet).

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  21. looking to check out this place this weekend. Just wondering where is the best place to park where i won't get towed or ticketed???

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