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
*There are two access points to the prints.
The closest access point is the dead end at the northern point of Sky View Terrace (near Signal Hill Drive). There is a small parking area and a well maintained trail that leads you straight down to the prints. However, we noticed on our way back up that there was a new "No Trespassing" sign to the entrance of the trail. (We missed the sign on the way down as we were looking for a nearby geocache)
I assume the sign is more for liability sake than any other reason, but law abiding citizens can easily access the prints via a short hike along the San Gabriel river where it crosses 183.
If you choose to park right off of 183, there appear 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.
* 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!
* 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.