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Texas Trail Running – Dinosaur Valley State Park

If you're an experienced trail runner, or brand new to the sport, finding new places to run can sometimes be challenging. Join us as we take a look at various trail running locations in Texas from an "Average Joe" point of view.
Dinosaur Valley State Park

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Are you looking for places to trail run in Texas? If so, we are going to be taking a look at where to go and what to expect with public access trail running. Even though I include a trail map, etc., this isn’t a turn by turn guide. It’s merely a nuts and bolts description that will hopefully help you out in determining if you want to make the trip.

Our first destination is Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, TX. Dinosaur Valley State Park is just up the road from Option Gray HQ and is a location I visit quite often to run, hike, mountain bike, camp, fish, and explore dinosaur tracks.

Location

  • Dinosaur Valley State Park
  • Address: 1629 Park Road 59, Glen Rose, TX 76043
  • Latitude: 32.246194
  • Longitude: -97.813375
  • Hours: 7am – 10pm (unless camping)
  • Headquarters: 8:30am – 4:30pm
  • Fees: $7 (Adult Day Use); Free with Texas State Park Pass
  • Website: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/dinosaur-valley
  • Trail Mileage: 20 miles of single-track dirt and limestone trails

It should be noted, The trails at Dinosaur Valley State Park may, at times, be closed due to wet conditions or weather; please contact the park, or visit their Facebook page or Twitter feed prior to arrival for current trail status and dinosaur track visibility.

What to Expect

As mentioned above, Dinosaur Valley State Park is home to 20 miles of single-track dirt and limestone trails, ready for you to explore. The park is very scenic by nature and more often than not, you will not encounter a lot of traffic. This is especially true outside of the busier summer months.

The terrain is varied with a mixture of Ashe Juniper and tall hardwoods, which can be found along the Paluxy River. There are also several open space prairies, which are home to a mixture of native grasses.

The foundation of the park can be described as Limestone at its core. For the most part, you will find a mixture of variable size rock, dirt, roots, and did I mention rock.

There are also several water crossings you may have to navigate. The water levels vary depending on the time of year and the rock can become extremely slippery due to moss. The water crossings also provide a nice relief from the relentless summer heat if you are in need of a quick cool down.

Some elevation gain can be expected and for this part of Texas, some may consider it mild and others may consider it significant. I would not consider any of the climbs very steep. Keep in mind, most of the elevation gain/loss is rolling and is short in duration.

Trails

The park is made up of a combination of trails, with the longest being 7.5 miles. The trail system is all interconnected and offers the opportunity to find the mileage that is just right for you.

TrailDistanceDifficulty
Limestone Ledge1.0 milesModerate
Cedar Brake Outer Loop7.5 milesModerate
Black-Capped Vireo Trail2.7 milesModerate
Denio Trail1.6 milesModerate
Buckeye Trail1.3 milesModerate
Rocky Ridge Trail1.0 milesModerate
Oak Springs Trail0.3 milesEasy
Overlook Trail0.5 milesEasy
Horseshoe Equestrian Trail2.6 milesEasy
Paluxy River Trail1.9 milesEasy
Monarch Trail0.5 milesEasy
Discovery Loop Trail0.1 milesEasy

Apres Run

Once you wrap up your run, especially if it’s later in the day, you need to head over to Loco Coyote Grill. Loco Coyote sits 8 miles west of Glen Rose on Hwy. 67, right on County Road 1004. The formal address is 1795 CR 1004, Glen Rose, TX 76043. If your GPS is giving you fits, try this address instead, 1795 CR 1004 Walnut Springs, TX 76690.

If it sounds like it is in the middle of nowhere, it’s because it kind of is. Trust me, it’s worth the drive. They have an awesome menu full of BBQ, burgers, steaks, po’ boys, and more. It features a relaxed atmosphere with indoor and outdoor seating. You will often be treated to live music while you hang out and relax.

I would recommend getting there early…as in at 11 am or so for lunch and 5 pm for lunch. I can get crowded in a hurry, so this will help prevent a wait which will happen during nice weather.

Conclusion

All in all, Dinosaur Valley State Park is a great place to go trail running. The combination of mixed terrain, varying elevation, natural obstacles, and light traffic make for an excellent combination. Located 1-hour southwest of Fort Worth, it’s close enough to make the trip to get that long run in on Saturday mornings.

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