Did you know that real dinosaur tracks exist just outside of Austin? We’ve been twice now, and it’s definitely an exciting adventure each time! They’re a bit tricky to find, but we can show you the way. Here’s how to find real dinosaur tracks in Leander (or you can use these directions). Please check google maps ahead of going to see if it’s still temporarily closed for construction! If it is closed, check out Dinosaur Park instead!
How To Find Real Dinosaur Tracks in Leander
This map shows you how to find the trailhead and where to park:
Park at Green Valley Dr & US Hwy 183 in the small parking area they just added. You can access it by going south on the 183 service road just past where the San Gabriel River crosses under the 183.
Finding the Trail
Head left down the path towards the riverbed down the big hill.
Go left (west) down the trail.
Finding the Tracks
Head west (left) once you hit the riverbed. It will most likely be dry, unless there’s been some rain recently. I would still recommend wearing water hiking shoes, because there is usually enough water here to splash around in. If you want to stay completely dry, there’s a path up on the left.
You’ll go west along the riverbed for about a half mile. Keep going until you can no longer see the bridge. If you want to avoid the water, go up the bank on the left side of the riverbed. There is a trail (it can be overgrown on both sides, but it’s there). Sometimes the water can be so deep that you can’t walk through it without being waste-deep, which isn’t good for little kids who can’t swim yet. Plus, I wouldn’t swim in that water anyway if it isn’t flowing. Keep looking down while you walk so you don’t miss the footprints. They can be hard to see the first time.
This was how deep the water was when we went, so we did the trail up the riverbank to the left:
Once you get past the deep part, you can walk back down on the riverbed:
We went on a summer day, and there were dozens of toads everywhere. My toddler was definitely more interested in catching toads than seeing the tracks, so that was a nice added adventure for him.
There is little to no shade along the riverbed, so be sure to wear sunscreen and hats and bring plenty of water if you go on a hot day!
The Big Boulders
When you hit the big boulders, you’re close, but keep going! The path will start to curve to the right and you won’t be able to see the bridge anymore.
These used to be filled in with white plaster, making them really stand out. Someone tried digging the plaster out, so they aren’t as noticeable.
Once you’ve seen the footprints, the riverbed keeps going:
We usually turn around and head back to the car after we spot the tracks (after catching a few more toads, of course).