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Hunting for Dinosaurs near Austin, Texas

Hunting for Dinosaurs near Austin, Texas


avatar   Stacy
Trip Date 01/20/2016
Posted On 05/01/2018 22:07:10

Destinations | Texas | Hiking in Texas | Exploring Austin | Leander | San Gabriel River | Dinosaur Tracks | Budget Travel | Outdoor Travel



There are so many amazing things to see and do in this world, and oftentimes we skip those right in our own backyard. While we have several planned vacations, we haven't taken advantage of our time to "see the world" since we retired in mid- December. We have been talking for years (probably more than 10) about going to Leander, Texas in search of some reported dinosaur footprints, and it was finally time!

If you live in or are visiting the Austin, Texas area, and have a few hours of spare time, this is a fun and completely free way to get a little exercise and see something pretty cool while you're at it.



Finding the Dinosaur Tracks

From northwest Austin, we headed north on US-183 on our first journey as retirees for a short 20 minute drive. After we parked our car near the south bank of the San Gabriel River in a grassy median home to some fenced off public works equipment, our real journey began as we made our way under the bridge and down to the river. (The San Gabriel River is state land and therefore public access is permitted.)


Our Hike Begins

Our Hike Begins

We hiked and we hiked and we hiked some more along the river in search of the reported tracks.


South Fork San Gabriel River

South Fork San Gabriel River

We stopped several times along the way asking each other, "Do you think this could be what they are talking about?"


"Do you think this could be what everyone is talking about?"

"Do you think this could be what everyone is talking about?"

The hike wasn't difficult, but we were on uneven terrain, had to squeeze through some narrow brush filled pathways, as well as take some pretty steep steps - both up and down. After walking west for about 1/2 mile, we finally saw the footprints on the south side of the river bank.


We Found the Tracks!

We Found the Tracks!


100 Million Years Old?

100 Million Years Old?

We spotted about 8 footprints - some were under a few inches of water so they were harder to see.


Acrocanthosaurus Footprint

Acrocanthosaurus Footprint

The three toed dinosaur footprints are embedded in the rock of the river bed, and according to estimates that we read, are over 100 million years old. Based on the shape, the footprints are thought to be those of the Acrocanthosaurus (which means "high spined lizard" in Greek). For a large dinosaur, the feet of an Acrocanthosaurus are small compared to similar sized dinosaurs, likely because they lived in a drier climate and did not need a large surface area to keep them from sinking in mud.


Our Successful Dinosaur Hunt!

Our Successful Dinosaur Hunt!

Helpful Hint for Finding the Dinosaur Tracks

There is a staircase that leads up to the hillside on the southern bank of the river, and the tracks can be found very near that point - but closer to (and maybe even in) the river water.



Other Attractions Near the Dinosaur Tracks

Check out our post titled "Honoring Our Veterans in Cedar Park" for a family friendly (and also free) way to spend a part of the day.

Often Forgotten Local Sights

Is there a cool site near your home that you've heard about, but haven't taken the time to see?




Total FitBit steps today: 17,065
Weather:48F Mostly Cloudy
2387 Highway 183, Leander, TX, United States


Hunting for Dinosaurs near Austin, Texas




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